Ana Marie Cox’s Novel: A Shaggy Dog?

Janet Maslin, The New York Times: “‘Dog Days’ manages to be doubly conventional: it follows both an old-fashioned love-betrayal-redemption arc and the newer, bitchier nanny-Prada chick-lit motif. Melanie is a myopic and self-interested heroine by the standards of either genre. The reader will learn about Melanie’s expensive shoes, Melanie’s drinking, Melanie’s buying of groceries at drugstores, Melanie’s playing with sushi and Melanie’s first shirt with French cuffs. Then there are Melanie’s descriptions of cellphone noises, the Delta shuttle terminal and Washington’s byzantine parking laws. Throughout all this, the ‘Berry’ – a word used as both a noun and a verb – is never more than a pesty ping away.”

USA Today: “The novel has a stripped-down story line and limited character development. The plot is predictable and matter-of-fact. But it does have a blunt, albeit tawdry, honesty.”

Publishers Weekly: “Fans of Wonkette’s wit will find themselves better served by her blog.”

The Book Standard: “[R]eaders hoping for some real-life dirt (or at least a salacious facsimile) will be dealt nothing more than lightweight fluff and throwaway farce.”


  1. While lots of reviewers may be criticizing Dog Days for not being the book people expected Cox to write, if you approach the book without the Wonkette baggage, it’s entertaining enough. Is it Henry Adams’ Democracy? Not by a long shot, but then what the hell else is? People who dig Joe Klein’s novels should enjoy this one well enough.

  2. I haven’t read it. So I can’t comment upon its merits or failures. But I think the expectations are high here, because people actually expected a comic narrative from Cox that applied her vim and wit to penetrating insight and got a skimpy and banal narrative instead.

  3. Ron says: “…lots of reviewers may be criticizing Dog Days for not being the book people expected Cox to write…”

    Who are the reviewers doing this? Not Maslin, who according to Ron’s own assertion on Galleycat “…doesn’t really seem to know that much about Ana Marie Cox…”

    Don’t you love it when contradictory arguments are applied depending on what’s convenient?

  4. Dear Lula, among the reviewers using the tactic I described are the very USA TODAY and PW reviews Ed quotes above. I said “lots of” rather than “all” for a reason.

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