I received a digital copy of Another Bad-Dog Book by Joni B. Cole for review.
About the Book:
Contrary to what the title might lead you to believe, this book isn’t actually about dogs. The dog (he’s very cute, by the way) makes a couple of appearances, but he isn’t the main attraction. Instead, Another Bad-Dog Book contains essays on a huge range of topics: parenting, writing, public speaking, living in Vermont, marriage, Facebook, beauty, New Year’s resolutions, American Idol, family, pets, growing up, and more. In essays that range from humorous to reflective to sarcastic, Joni B. Cole skillfully renders snippets of her life, from ordinary to bizarre, for readers to enjoy.
My first thought as I began reading Another Bad-Dog Book was, “Hey, Joni B. Cole reminds me of Jen Lancaster.” I’ve only read one of Lancaster’s books, but I enjoyed it well enough, so the comparison was a positive one. But as I read further, I began to realize that, while Cole can be scathingly, snarkily funny like Lancaster, Another Bad-Dog Book also contains a wide variety of other styles. Most pieces have at least a bit of humor — scathing, yes, or situational, or ironical — but several had a very different tone, serious and touching. I’d be smiling one moment and contemplative the next. Throughout the collection, Cole displays her talent for capturing moments both small and large and turning them into captivating pieces of writing.
I had a couple of minor quibbles with Another Bad-Dog Book which arose solely from my own preferences. First, I did sort of miss having a unifying theme to the book. The essays were enjoyable to read and well written, but there were moments when I wanted some overarching story to tie them together. Second, there were a couple of of essays (just a couple!) that came across as a bit grating. These were usually the snarkiest pieces, the ones that seemed a bit insensitive, and I must admit they rubbed me the wrong way. Overall, though, I had no problems with the essays’ content and enjoyed reading about the mix of topics Cole chose to explore and seeing Cole’s different approach to each.
If you enjoy essays, humorous and otherwise, about ordinary life, I would suggest you give Another Bad-Dog Book by Joni B. Cole a try. While every piece in the collection may not be your favorite, there is bound to be something in such a diverse collection for everyone.
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