Originally posted on my blog guiltless reading
The winning formula: Dog + Bill Gates = appealing.
The book in one sentence: Bill Gates gets a dog to boost his public image.
My two cents: The premise of the book: get a dog to make Gates more reachable and more likable. Who can argue with that? I found the premise quite entertaining. It's touted to be a satire and hopefully with a synopsis that has a grain of truth (read: first two sentences), I figured that this would at least be interesting.
There are two worlds presented: human and dog.
The human world is pretty boring: it is mainly about keeping Bill Gates happy. He comes across as rather dull in the book - and the fact that he never interacted with the dogs really turned me off. His whole team of public consultants is portrayed as a total mess.
Now the dog world: this is what made the book a bit more interesting. The first failed attempt involved Big Gandhi, a dog with breeding. His disappearance makes him a deity-of-sorts in the dog world.
More pedigree dogs -- Web, Blake, Georgie and Dremmel -- enter the picture and they vie for the position of becoming Bill Gates' Dog. Of course, there's also Amanda, a female dog with breeding, thrown in for a bit of a romantic spin.
But the consultants come up with the idea of using an ordinary dog instead: a mongrel called Rin, Mr. Niceguy, whose niceness would hopefully rub off on its pseudo-owner Gates.
Here comes the divide: dogs with breeding vs. ordinary dogs. This is where different personalities come into play, provoking discussions come up, and where we see how the dog world is informed by their own perception of what is happening "up there" in the "human world."
I have to honestly say that I didn't really invest myself into this read - it was a breezy read, humorous at times but not rip roaring or especially memorable. While I found it entertaining, I also didn't read too much into the satire side of things and I guess I was expecting a more obvious aha moment. It never came and that's where I found myself disappointed.
You may wonder if the scheme worked? I'll leave you to find out ... but it can only happen after a big crazy song and dance, of course!
Verdict: An unusual book where the dogs tell the story and Bill Gates disappears into the background.
[I received this book from Goodreads First Reads.]