I read Life on the Leash on the recommendation of @Simone and Her Books. I was looking for something light, because with my job at the moment I’m finding I just have less time to read. So anything heavy, or which doesn’t grab me right away, is ending up in the DNF file. Let’s just say I’m already having a slow reading month… I was hoping this book would catapult me back into my usual reading habits.
There were a few things I found a bit… I hate to use the word… But I’m going to have to: “triggering”. I’ve had dogs, I love animals, and the idea of anyone hurting or neglecting them upsets me. It probably does most people. But Victoria Schade is a dog trainer, so I’m guessing she sees a fair bit of that in her line of work. Still, while I found some scenes upsetting, she managed to keep it light without shying away from the reality. I thought that made a very difficult subject more readable. I also thought she made some subtle, but excellent, points about animal welfare based (presumably) on her experience. That was nice to see. And I loved the whole dog trainer “thing”. What a great job!
The romance is your fairly standard boy-meets-girl, girl likes someone else, girl realises she was wrong all the time, trope. I was looking for that, to be honest. I don’t pick up self-avowed chick lit looking to be mentally stimulated. I want the comfort factor, and the nice “aww” feels at the end. This has that in spades, as well as allowing the reader to relax because they feel they know what’s coming. The suspense is, as always in chick lit, how it happens – not what. I like that about it, for an easy end the week read, and I feel Life on the Leash did a good job of keeping things the right side of old reliable without sacrificing plot tension. I also liked the balance between the character development and the romance, like it wasn’t the only or most important thing in her life. That was a pleasant change.
There was some fairly obvious Cesar Millan bashing going on throughout. Now, I am not an expert on dog psychology or training. If I was, I have a feeling I would have a way more interesting job… But I’ve had dogs, I’ve read the books and watched the TV shows, and I’ve tried a range of different techniques to get my puppers to behave. I actually do not have a problem with Cesar Millan, or his techniques, and I think people that do probably misunderstand what he does. Not to say his is the only (or best) way… I’m not qualified to judge that. But I do think the obvious bashing got a bit much. It was just unnecessary, and I think the point could have been made without denigrating a man’s career.
Overall, although the book is a bit of a slow starter, I really enjoyed it. It was exactly the relaxed read I was looking for, after a very long week. I’d definitely recommend it for fans of the chick lit genre.