My enormous thanks to Gariella Drinkald at Midas PR for sending me a copy of Pug Actually by Matt Dunn in return for an honest review. I’m delighted to share my review today.
Published by Harper Collins imprint HQ on 14th October, Pug Actually is available for pre-order here.
When your dog plays Cupid…what could possibly go wrong?
Loyal rescue pug Doug wants his adoring owner Julie to find unconditional love and happiness – and he knows she won’t find either in the arms of Luke, her married boss.
Doug is terrified that Julie will become a lonely cat-lover if she stays single too long, but he can’t let her fall for any more of Luke’s empty promises. Julie needs to move on – and Doug is convinced that Tom, a newly divorced V-E-T, is perfect for her (despite his questionable occupation).
There’s just one problem: Julie and Tom can’t stand each other.
Doug doesn’t quite understand the quirks and complexities of human relationships, but he won’t let that get in the way of his mission to bring Tom and Julie together. After all, being a ‘rescue’ works both ways…
My Review of Pug Actually
Doug doesn’t like Julie’s boyfriend Luke one little bit.
Pug Actually is an absolute delight. Certainly it’s obvious from the cover, the genre and blurb that this will be a ‘happy ever after’ kind of read but my goodness the journey getting there is just glorious. It’s witty, entertaining and totally captivating and escapist reading that I loved. Reading Pug Actually brought me total joy, a smile to my face and some laughing aloud moments.
Told from Doug the pug’s point of view, there’s an innovative approach to the traditional rom-com in Pug Actually that works perfectly as Doug’s narrative voice shines through, immediately enchanting the reader and making them complicit in his actions to try to make Julie happy. As someone who doesn’t like dogs much, I thought Doug was magnificent. And because there is a relatively reduced palette of characters, Matt Dunn ensures the reader has absolute insight into their personalities through Doug’s astute and perceptive observations. I loathed Luke with a passion – enough to want to do him physical injury and whilst I’d have jettisoned him months ago, the writing is so convincing that I could accept Julie’s relationship with him. Her frustrating acceptance of Luke’s duplicity, her insecurity and her love for her Dad all had a totally realistic and authentic tone that drew me in and made me want her to be happy.
The plot zips along with brilliant pace and Pug Actually was one of those books I simply had to consume over a couple of days because not only did I want to discover how Doug’s plans might work out, but I loved it so much I didn’t want to set it aside. It’s a skilful thing to write a novel that makes a reader feel so happy but Matt Dunn has managed it brilliantly here.
Whilst Pug Actually is a light-hearted, uplifting read, it has some more weighty themes weaving through it too, giving it depth as well as entertainment. Jim’s grief over his wife’s death, marriage and security, trust and deception, new beginnings and self-sabotage mean that Pug Actually provides the reader with the perfect balance of food for thought and entertainment. Matt Dunn has the ability to illustrate humanities frailties with sensitivity and yet still keep a lightness of touch that is so much fun to read.
I loved Pug Actually. The world needs more people (and I use the word ‘people’ deliberately) like Doug in it. And if we can’t actually meet them in real life, what better than to read about them? I can’t recommend the fabulous Pug Actually highly enough. Just buy it!
About Matt Dunn
Matt Dunn is the author of numerous romantic comedy novels, including the bestselling The Ex-Boyfriend’s Handbook and A Day at the Office. He’s also written about life, love, and relationships for various publications including The Times, Guardian, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Company, Elle, and The Sun.