4 out of 4 stars
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Gone to the Dogs by Simon Gary is the story of a fictional television show of the same name. The story unfolds through the words of its cast, producer and writers during interviews. The book reads like a homage to a show aired during the '70s. Excerpts from certain episodes are also featured. Even though the book is about the show, the real lives of the actors also unfold through the interviews and archive transcripts. The foreword makes it seem like it is an actual show even though it is entirely fictional.
The story progresses through the interviews of seven actors, two writers and the producer. They recall the events during the filming of the show over a period of five years. We see the same incidents being perceived by the different characters in various ways. We witness the characters develop as we read the transcripts. Their nature gradually changes over the course of five years. We observe alliances and enmities forming. The notable thing about this book is that there is no narrator. Similarly, there are no heroes or villains. Everyone is just human and prone to mistakes. Everyone gets a chance to talk about their side of the story. Despite the humorous narrative, a sense of foreboding looms as the characters open up to the interviewers.
This book has eccentric characters and hilarious dialogues. The character descriptions are funny as well as sharp. For example, in an interview, one character describes another in this manner: “He always seemed something of an innocent, being pulled through life in a perpetual state of shock.” Many quotes like this one resonated with me: “Whilst for us, looking on, nothing had happened, everything happened; no-one would be the same again.” Many of the department titles and movie names were fictional and ridiculously funny.
This book seems like a satire of modern society and reminds us of simpler times. However, this quote informs us that, perhaps, people have not changed at all: “Seems to me that we live in a society where people look for things to be outraged by.” The author also suggests a straightforward solution to this: “What is 'offensive' anyway? If you don’t like it, then don’t watch it! Pah!” This book surprised me in many ways because I was not expecting so many twists in what I thought was just another British comedy. I want to say more about this book, but I am afraid it would spoil the twists for everyone reading this review.
I give Gone to the Dogs by Simon Gary 4 out of 4 stars despite finding some grammatical errors. The book had well-developed characters, and I could not find any other flaw. I recommend this to anyone who is a fan of British comedy with unexpected twists. The author has accomplished a brilliant job of maintaining the proper timelines so that the events unfold in a sequential manner. However, since the story develops through multiple perspectives, some readers might find it difficult to connect the same incident being narrated by various people.
Gone to the Dogs
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