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What the Dog Ate by Jackie Bouchard; My Take #book2movie

"The vet handed Maggie Baxter a plastic specimen bag containing a pair of size-tiny, lavender thong panties extracted from her dog; but they were not hers. Or rather, they were hers now since she’d just paid $734 to have Dr. Carter surgically remove them from Kona’s guts.Jackie Bouchard, What the Dog Ate

From that very first sentence of the opening paragraph of What the Dog Ate, when we see the vet extricate that teensy pair of lavender thong panties from the guts of Maggie's dog, Kona, we fear the worse and yet we can't help smiling. My first thought was 'oh no, her husband is clearly cheating on her!'  Which he obviously was and they break up that's just so not what this book is about. That beginning really is just the impetus, the prelude to the real story - that of Maggie's gutsy journey back to happiness, with Kona along for the ride and adventure.
But even that beginning is done with such wit and surprise.

Bouchard doesn't make Dave, Maggie's husband, the evil villain. He's a bit distant and thoughtless and yes, a gutless cheat but not QUITE the sleazy louse of a lyin' cheatin' somnabitch we might expect from a lesser writer.  

“It’s a bad sign that he’s not even begging for our eakfast-bray.” Dave tells Maggie when learning Kona's been throwing up. And ... “You be a brave boy.” Dave had kissed the top of Kona’s head.’’
It’s skillfully crafted, bittersweet dialog like that, that makes it hard to believe they won't be able to work it out at the end of the day. A couple engaging in pig latin when talking about their beloved dog! How heartwrenching is that? A few strokes that say so much about the lives they used to share. The surprise of Bouchard is that despite that connection, that bond, things don't work out. But Maggie moves on. Bouchard writes in such a fresh, funny, authentic and accessible way, we can't help but laugh. I loved Maggie with her self-deprecating charm combined with spunk, creativity and determination. It's always a pleasure to read a strong female who isn't looking to be rescued. And Kona of course, with his smoothie licking tongue. He's not just an amazing pet, he's Maggie's muse and I loved him. 
This was definitely a book I knew from the very first paragraph I was going to love. And I did. Check out other first paragraphs that tempted readers into delving further into their pages at the meme hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea

GUEST POST    TOMORROW     My Book, The Movie: What the Dog Ate    TOMORROW!

Novelist Jackie Bouchard
from her website
I’m very excited and grateful that the author, Jackie Bouchard, has written a guest post for what I like to call My Book, the Movie which I'll be sharing tomorrow.   (Thank you soooo much, Jackie!)

In the meantime, if you want to know more about Jackie or What the Dog Ate or if you want to buy the book, go to jackiebouchard.com 

The story: "Must Love Dogs" meets "Marley & Me." When Maggie Baxter, a practical, rule-following accountant, finds out what her chocolate Lab ate, her world turns upside down. Maggie thought she had the rest of her life meticulously planned out, but now she needs to figure out Plan B. With her dog, Kona, as her guru, Maggie embarks on a funny, heartwarming quest to find tail-wagging joy."

In My Book, The Movie: What the Dog Ate, the author shares her thoughts on her Dream Cast. If you've read Jackie's book, come back to read what she has to say and to share your comments too.  If you haven't read the book, I highly recommend it. Once I started reading I found it hard to stop.  It was fast, funny and heartwarming all at the same time. I can totally see this as a movie with a strong and quirky supporting cast of characters and beautiful beachy places like San Diego, La Jolla, and Jacksonville as a backdrop.