By: Paula Munier
Publisher: Adams Media
Publication Date: August 18, 2010
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 10, 2010
A big goofy mutt named Shakespeare, a kitty cat named Isis, a disgruntled eleven-year-old boy, and a single Mom had moved from Salem to Lytton and things didn’t seem to be going well at all. In fact nothing ever seemed to go right for Paula. There was the husband who was as was on par with Jack the Ripper in the mental department and then there was the one that lured her back to California insinuating that they could be a family again . . . and up and married Miss Priss. She should have taken out stock in Kleenex and she would have been better off. At least she had two grown kids and Mikey, a boy who had made her promise that they could get a dog if they ever got a house of their own. “You promised–the two words in the English language most likely to bring a single mother to her knees.” (pg. 8) Did she really say they’d get a DOG?
“I hate you.”
Only a single mother knew how to drive like a maniac to Puppy Palace in Bowlington, forty-eight miles away before the store closed and rush hour traffic began. They had every fluffy froo froo dog known to man and when she suggested a dachshund Mickey simply spouted, “I don’t want a wiener dog, Mom,” but there was one dog in the back and it was none other than Freddie. “Three pets, two people, one TV set fully equipped with more than 200 cable channels. The All-American formula for happiness in the twenty-first century.” (pg. 177) Not. Paula soon discovered that Freddie was an escape artist, could tear apart a couch in search of one piece of popcorn, had an unusual appetite for the wooden knobs off her “custom cherry cabinets,” and would just as soon bite all men as look at them.
Paula’s mother claimed that “You were never any trouble. It was those ... those ... husbands of yours.” (pg. 151) She could now throw Freddie into the troublesome mix. Mikey’s beloved “loud-mouth beagle” turned out to be a hunter’s dream, a bawler. Her vet counseled her to get a shrink for Freddie, when all the while she could have used one for herself. Her success at dating and finding a husband wasn’t any better than her success in training Freddie. Her father, the Colonel, finally told her right up front, “You tried fixing him, and that didn’t work, either. Some dogs just aren’t meant to live in polite society. Freddie may be one of them.” Perhaps not. Was Paula ever going to be able to get a grip on her own life, let alone Freddie’s? Would she have to get rid of him? Would she ever be able to find a husband who would put up with a dog that loved to chomp on men for kicks? She was beginning to think she was one who wasn’t meant to live in polite society either.
If you take one little boy, add one little dog, a handful of dates, and two crazy ex husbands, mix them up and what do you get? You have the recipe for the amusingly eccentric life of Paula Munier, a single mother who’s been there, done that, and seen it all. I quickly found that the title of this book was a misnomer, as Freddie was never really in the forefront of this book. This is a charming memoir that I really enjoyed, but is far from the “Marley” genre that people expect when they see Freddie on the cover. It was however, a page-turner and quite well written. Like many single moms, every time she thought things were going well it seemed as if someone threw a wrench in the works. Paula always graciously managed to pull herself up with aplomb and kept going even when things seemed insurmountable.
Quill says: No, I did not like the title, but must admit I loved the memoir!