Pug Hill, by Allison Pace

>> Monday, February 25, 2008

TITLE:Pug Hill
AUTHOR: Allison Pace

COPYRIGHT: 2006
PAGES: 312
PUBLISHER: Berkley

SETTING: Contemporary New York
TYPE: Chick Lit
SERIES: No

REASON FOR READING: I really liked Pace's If Andy Warhol Had a Girlfriend.

For Hope McNeill, pugs are love, unconditional friendship, happiness, and freedom. She doesn't have one of her own (busy life, tiny apartment), but she does have Pug Hill in Central Park, where pugs (and their owners) from all over New York convene. She also has a crush on one of her co-workers, a flailing romantic relationship, and an unspeakable fear of public speaking. Then Hope's father calls with an assignment: to make a speech at her parents' anniversary party. Frantic, she signs up for a public speaking class, but can't help wondering-will it transform her into an eloquent orator? Maybe some fears are so big that even all the pugs in the world might not be enough to assuage them.
MY THOUGHTS: This is one of those books where not much really happens, but which are still pleasant enough to read.

Hope MacNeil is in her early 30s and not particularly satisfied with her life. She's got a pretty good job as an art restorer (which I would have liked to see a lot more of), but as a whole, her life is meh. She does have a boyfriend, but she can't seem to figure out why she's still with him, as they are not really very compatible. She loves pugs, but can't have one because her apartment's too tiny. She has an irrational fear of public speaking. Just a normal young woman, nothing Earth-shattering here.

When her parents ask her to make a speech at their wedding anniversary celebration, Hope decides (after much panicking) to sign up for a public speaking class. And well, that's about all that happens. Going to this class triggers in her some insight into her life and helps her grow a bit, so by the end of the book, the outlook is hopeful.

I'm afraid my description makes the book sound a bit pointless, but that's not the feeling you get from it. Hope was a character I could relate to, maybe because of the commonness and small scale of her concerns. She's got a good voice, and her perceptive commentary on her life and the people around her is interesting.

MY GRADE: I'll go with a B-, but it's perilously close to a C+.

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