Book Review: Texts from Dog by October Jones

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Texts from Dog is a picture book for adults. It’s really important to make this clear because its simplicity and pictures might mean it is mistaken for a children’s book. But the first time (and many subsequent times) Dog drops the f-bomb, it is clear that children should not be reading it. It’s a shame, actually, that the swearing prevents it being read by a wider and younger audience because it could have been a book that everyone enjoyed.

Instead, we adults get to read it and laugh out loud. The book has a simple and yet unlikely premise: October Jones owns a bulldog and has bought him a cell phone and “taught” him to text. The entire book is comprised of text conversations between owner and pet, mostly while the owner is at work and the pet is wreaking havoc at home, some while they are both at home but the owner is upstairs and the pet is downstairs. Especially classic are the texts at 3am when October is in bed and Dog has to go outside, texting that he can’t schedule his poos. Tee-hee!

Dog is consumed by his conflict with the neighbour’s cat, his evil arch-nemesis CatCat (“So, basically, a cat?”), and assumes his alter-ego BatDog (“I am the Bark Knight.”) in order to battle against him. But he’s scared of squirrels (“Don’t tell that evil bastard where I live.”). And appliances in the house are out to get him, too (“The lamp in the living room fell over. Now I have to fight it. Matter of honour.”).

There are a couple of references for the serious reader where October lectures Dog on the correct use of “your” and “you’re” (“How’s this: You’re going to get head-butted in your testicles”) and where Dog reviews War and Peace for October (“Tasted like chicken”) but in the main it’s just silly fun.

There are a couple of repeated text conversations and some of them are out of order (there’s a text announcing Dog has tired of playing with Zombie Pigeon and later on there’s a text introducing Zombie Pigeon) but they are minor glitches.

Reading this book won’t change your life but it certainly brought a smile to my face as well as many laughs from my lips. And as a writer, it’s the sort of high concept book that makes me a little jealous I didn’t think of it first.

4 stars

*First published on Goodreads 8 March 2016

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