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Pug Hill: 10/03/08

My across-the-street neighbors had a bunch of pugs when I was a kid. They were the sweetest, nicest dogs. Because of them, I have a soft spot for pugs. I had to therefore give Pug Hill by Alison Pace a read.

By all accounts, I should have enjoyed Pug Hill. It takes place in New York City, it has pugs, heroine Hope McNeil works as an art restorer and yet none of these individually entertaining elements is enough to carry the story.

Hope McNeil's parents are coming up on their 40th wedding anniversary. They want Hope to give a speech but she's terrified of public speaking (of course) and spends the remainder of the book dreading the speech and coming to terms with her commitment to give it. Along the way she has boyfriend trouble and tries to seek meaning to life by watching the pugs of Pug Hill in Central Park.

That's it. That's all there is to this 312 page novel. The best chapter of the entire book is the chapter after she gives the speech. With her new found self confidence she takes charge and strikes up a romance with an old friend. This is where the book should have started from!

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