Monday, June 27, 2016

Jonathan Unleashed

TITLE: Jonathan Unleashed
AUTHOR: Meg Rosoff

FROM GOODREADS: Jonathan Trefoil’s boss is unhinged, his relationship baffling, and his apartment just the wrong side of legal. His girlfriend wants to marry someone just like him—only richer and with a different sense of humor. He doesn’t remember life being this confusing, back before everyone expected him to act like a grown-up.

When his brother asks him to look after his dogs, Jonathan's world view begins to shift. Could a border collie and a cocker spaniel hold the key to life, the universe, and everything? Their sly maneuvering on daily walks and visits to the alluring vet suggest that human emotional intelligence may not be top dog after all.

A funny, wise romantic comedy set in Manhattan, Jonathan Unleashed is a story of tangled relationships, friendships, and dogs. Rosoff’s novel is for anyone wondering what to be when they grow up, and how on earth to get there.

So I'll be the first to admit that perhaps I am being a tad generous with my rating on this one, but personally I loved it and for now, that's good enough for me. I honestly think that if you are a "dog person" you will see this book on a totally different level from other readers and that fact alone has probably contributed for a 5/5 for me when it may have been more like a 3-4/5 for most others.

Jonathan has graduated college and is living in Manhattan, working at a low-level ad agency. His brother has moved to Dubai for 6 months for a contract job and left Jonathan to care for his beloved pets, Dante the Border Collie and Sissy the Spaniel. Jonathan's college girlfriend of 4 years, Julie, has just moved to New York and her and Jonathan's relationship is on the fast-track to marriage. The issue is that neither seem to thrilled with this idea and they are clearly not suited for one another.

Jonathan is a pretty funny, yet not entirely likable characters. However, he does have some very redeeming qualities. Jonathan really wants to spend his life drawing comics, and while working at a job he desperately hates, he starts drawing a Dante's Inferno-like comic which features his dog guarding the different gates of Hell. Also, after Jonathan and Julie decide to get married because her wedding magazine wants to throw a promotional streamed ceremony, Jonathan basically has a nervous breakdown and starts speaking nonsense for several weeks which turns out pretty hilarious at times. I've seen people mention that they believe Jonathan is a woman-hater or womanizer and I didn't see him as that. I just saw him as an irritating 20-something who doesn't have his crap together yet and really, there's nothing wrong with that.

Needless to say, Dante and Sissy are the real shining stars in this novel. Despite all of Jonathan's hangups and flaws, he forms a strong attachment to his brother's dogs and they end up being smarter than him in many ways. This is where the dog-lover part comes in...I can handle Jonathan
short-comings because he is so loving and adoring toward Dante and Sissy. Also, I must make mention of Greeley, the 3-month intern at the ad agency. Greeley becomes Jonathan's spiritual guide of sorts in trying to figure out what he wants out of life and despite the fact that Greeley is very androgynous and no one really clarifies anything until near the end of the book, no one simply cares and Jonathan and Greeley develop a great friendship.

Needless to say, if you are a dog-lover, go grab this book immediately. And if you aren't, there are still plenty of things about it you might enjoy. Dante and Sissy really aren't the MC's in the story, but they are very strong components to the plot. I'm really glad I picked up this book and hope others enjoy it as much as I did.

I received this book from the Penguin First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.



  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! I'll admit to being over generous with stars, for any reason, but who cares! Excellent review!!

  2. I always go my my enjoyment level of the book when I choose a rating rather than it's value to literature etc. As long as I love the book, that is the main thing!