This novel’s no shaggy dog story: it’s as compact and as sweet as it’s eponymous small canine hero: Doggo. Waiting for Doggo is told from the viewpoint of the human Daniel (Dan), and opens with a letter from his girlfriend Clara who’s done a bunk. The letter tells Dan she’s left him, and the dog she adopted from Battersea Dog’s Home three weeks before (in a bid to salvage their relationship). This is news to Dan: the bit about their relationship being in need of salvaging, not the bit about the distrustful Doggo staring at him in the corner.
Mills plunges you straight into the ratty-dog race that’s Dan’s life, right when things are looking pretty pawful (sorry). Jobless, girlfriendless, and lumbered with a dog ugly …er…dog, things for Dan are pretty shih tzu (I’ll stop soon). But on a wag and a prayer he and his hound turn things around. This is an endearing book that trots along at pace, punctuated with knowing humour and incites into urban living. We’ve had romance, and bromance, is Waiting For Doggo the dawn of domance? Here’s hoping. As a reader I easily invested in both Dan and Doggo, the latter reducing me to crying in public at one point (no spoilers).
The bound of the plot was so energetic; it felt briefly that Mills himself was caught off-guard by its abrupt ending. Swift paragraphs rounded off the various story strands, and had me wondering just who or what was the main focus of the tale? But only fleetingly. A writer as tight as Mills, and with his history of screenwriting, has surely allowed the narrative to continue. And I, for one, would vote for this Doggo to have another day. Sequel, please.
Waiting For Doggo, Mark B. Mills: A wonderful tail (ahem) 4/5