“If you are a dog lover looking for a good read, you should definitely pick up a copy...this is a heartfelt story.” Phillyburg.com
“A heartwarming tale.” Publishers Weekly
“A superior entry in the growing genre of canine-centric fiction.” Booklist
“Susan Wilson dishes up another captivating story that will keep you hooked until the last page is turned.” Modern Dog magazine
“I would unhesitatingly recommend this book to dog lovers and "non-dog" people alike” BellaDog
“The Dog Who Danced simply can't be missed.” The Augusta Chronicle
Justine Meade has spent most of her 43 years on the move. She left home young, got in and out of an early marriage, and had a son who, unhappy with her restless life, went to live with his father. When Justine learns that her father is dying, she hitches a cross-country ride with a long-haul trucker from Seattle to Massachusetts, hoping for a resolution to their relationship. Her companion on the journey is Mack, a sheepdog trained to dance. But at a rest stop, her ride drives off, unknowingly taking Mack with him. Later abandoned, Mack is found by an older couple still grieving after their teenager daughter’s suicide years earlier. Meanwhile, Justine reaches her father in time to revisit the fight that sent her away from home. She gets a new perspective on the past while Mack, nearer to Justine than she realizes, helps the old couple heal. When chance reunites Justine and Mack, she decides to get back in touch with her son. Wilson persuasively adopts a dog’s perspective from time to time in a story full of cliché and sentiment. Fans of Wilson’s One Good Dog, or new readers looking for a heartwarming tale of the bond between human and animal, will find plenty to enjoy. Agent: Andrea Cirillo, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Mar.)
Wilson's second canine novel (after the best-selling One Good Dog) again pulls at readers' heartstrings. Mack is a gray-and-white sheltie whose owner, Justine Meade, has taught him to dance. Living in Seattle, Justine, a divorced single mother, has only Mack as her constant companion. When she learns that her father is dying, the financially strapped Justine pays a truck driver $300 to take her and Mack to Boston. But he abandons Justine at a truck stop with Mack in the backseat and later dumps the dog by the side of the road. VERDICT Told from multiple points of view (Justine's, Mack's, and a couple who find the lost Mack), this is an emotional read about dealing with loss, accepting things you cannot change, and moving on with your life. Recommended for those who love dogs and enjoyed Wilson's earlier work. [See Prepub Alert, 9/23/11.]—Susan Hayes, Chattahoochee Valley Libs., Columbus, GA
Love, loss and redemption are explored in Wilson's (One Good Dog, 2010, etc.) latest mainstream fiction. As a young girl, Justine Meade lost her mother. Her father quickly married Adele, a stepmother who disliked and mistreated Justine. At 17, Justine left home. She found work in Brooklyn, married the boss' son, but then divorced and began an itinerant life, always ready to move on. Wilson writes Justine in first person, with back story reflecting her never-quite-satisfied adulthood, one fractured by her teenage son's recent resolution to live with his father. With her own estranged father battling cancer, Justine has been summoned home. Justine lives in Seattle, tends bar and has one maxed-out credit card. So she pays a regular patron $300 to hitch a ride in his long-haul rig, taking along Mack, her Sheltie and one source of unconditional love. On the road, the trucker assumes Justine is willing to share a bed, but Justine refuses. Frustrated, he strands her at an Ohio truck stop. Only when he reaches Massachusetts does the trucker discover Mack in the cab's sleeper. He dumps the dog. In Ohio, Justine reluctantly accepts help from Mitch, a one-legged biker who, belying his gruff exterior, is a symphony violinist. Mitch could only chase the big rig for a short distance, which left Justine in a frantic and uncoordinated pursuit while simultaneously attempting to reach her father in New Bedford. Mitch appears near novel's end, but his likable character deserves more. Meantime, Mack is rescued by Ed and Alice, a couple mired in a miasma of despair over the suicide of their daughter. Instinctively, Mack begins to heal the rift between them. While not detracting from the story, there is predictable anthropomorphism, and Wilson readily relies on a Sheltie's nature and behavior to drive the emotion-packed story to its somewhat too-easy climax.
As with Marley and Me and The Art of Racing in the Rain, it's hard not to like a book where a dog is a major player.