Meg Donohue

Liz & Lisa's Book Club: Dog Crazy by Meg Donohue

Dog_Crazy Our latest book club pick is the cute and clever Dog Crazy by Meg Donohue. We both have soft spots for rescue dogs (although Lisa's chewed her favorite shoe as she was writing this post and she is NOT happy about it) and love the premise behind this must-read novel that's out just in time for spring break.

And we have a copy for giveaway! Lucky you! Just leave a comment to be entered to win. Contest closes March 19th at 6pm PST.

The scoop: The USA Today bestselling author of How to Eat a Cupcake and All the Summer Girls returns with an unforgettably poignant and funny tale of love and loss, confronting our fears, and moving on . . . with the help of a poodle, a mutt, and a Basset retriever named Seymour.

As a pet bereavement counselor, Maggie Brennan uses a combination of empathy, insight, and humor to help patients cope with the anguish of losing their beloved four-legged friends. Though she has a gift for guiding others through difficult situations, Maggie has major troubles of her own that threaten the success of her counseling practice and her volunteer work with a dog rescue organization.

Everything changes when a distraught woman shows up at Maggie’s office and claims that her dog has been stolen. Searching the streets of San Francisco for the missing pooch, Maggie finds herself entangled in a mystery that forces her to finally face her biggest fear-and to open her heart to new love.

Packed with deep emotion and charming surprises, Dog Crazy is a bighearted and entertaining story that skillfully captures the bonds of love, the pain of separation, and the power of our dogs to heal us.

Our thoughts: We're both huge dog lovers and Meg Donohue fans, so this was a win-win for us!

Liz & Lisa's Book Club: Dog Crazy by Meg Donohue

Photo credit: Alex Wang

1. We love the premise of DOG CRAZY. How did you come up with the idea?

Thank you! I knew that I wanted to write about the human-canine bond. I also know from experience how difficult it is to lose a beloved dog—I lost my dog “soul mate,” a Portuguese water dog named Oe, about six years ago and I still think about him every day. So I was thinking about how to write about dogs, and how much I still miss Oe, and the idea came to me to write a story from the perspective of a pet bereavement therapist. I met with a pet bereavement therapist in San Francisco in order to pick her brain and get a glimpse of the profession; our conversation fascinated me and solidified my desire to write this story. In addition, my current dog is a rescue dog and a truly wonderful companion and family member. My husband and I often ask ourselves where he would be if not for us, and where we would be if not for him. I loved the idea of writing about that relationship between people and their rescue dogs … that whole question of “who is rescuing whom?”

2. It's obvious through your writing that you're a dog lover, tell us about yours! (Is he/she the one in your author pic?)

Yes, the dog in my author photograph is our dog, Cole, the afore-mentioned rescue. We adopted him through an organization in San Francisco that brings homeless dogs over from Taiwan. We picked up Cole at the San Francisco International Airport in the company of several other families that were picking up his littermates. It was a very sweet, very fun scene. When we first adopted Cole, my husband and I had only been married for one year and we didn’t have any children. Now we have three young girls and Cole has welcomed each in own tolerant, patient manner. He is cherished by each of us.

3. The puppies on the cover of your book are too cute. What's the story behind the cover?

My editor sent me a couple of cover images to weigh in on. They were both great, but I just couldn’t resist these puppies. Maggie, the protagonist of DOG CRAZY, believes that spotting a puppy is good luck (it’s her version of spotting a heads-up penny), so in addition to just being doggone cute (sorry), the puppies suitably reflect the story. The only thing I asked was if the designer could add in something in the background to make it clear that this is a San Francisco-set story … through cover-design magic, the Golden Gate Bridge appeared.

4. What is something your readers might be surprised to know about you?

Readers know (or at least they do now!) that I am a huge dog lover, but they might be surprised to learn that for a long stretch of my life, horses were equally important to me. I started riding at a young age and became a barn rat by high school, spending many of my non-school hours roaming a horse farm just outside of Philadelphia. I kept riding into my twenties and was the captain of my college’s equestrian team (yes, I’m still quite proud of that!). So perhaps it was only a matter of time before I began working on…

5. What are you working on next?  

… A horse novel! LOVE SONGS AFTER DARK is the story of a famous radio talk show host and her horse-obsessed teenage daughter. After a serious riding accident, the daughter undergoes a significant personality change, morphing from a shy wallflower to an outspoken risk taker. Since I can’t resist a love story or a mystery, there will be at least one of each in the story. It’s early days, but I’m enjoying getting to know these new c

Meg Donohue's 5 Firsts & Lasts

All_the_summer_girlsToday's guest: Meg Donohue Why we love her: We crowned her a Lit IT Girl after reading her sparkling debut, How to Eat a Cupcake.

Her latest: All the Summer Girls

The scoop on it: In Philadelphia, good girl Kate is dumped by her fiancé the day she learns she is pregnant with his child. In New York City, beautiful stay-at-home mom Vanessa finds herself obsessively searching the Internet for news of an old flame. And in San Francisco, Dani, the wild child and aspiring writer who can’t seem to put down a book—or a cocktail—long enough to open her laptop, has just been fired… again.

In an effort to regroup, Kate, Vanessa, and Dani retreat to the New Jersey beach town where they once spent their summers. Emboldened by the seductive cadences of the shore, the women begin to realize just how much their lives, and friendships, have been shaped by the choices they made one fateful night on the beach eight years earlier—and the secrets that only now threaten to surface.

Our thoughts: You know we're suckers for any novel that tackles the complicated bonds between female friends. Meg handles this flawlessly in this book. We highly recommend you add this book to your beach bag this summer!

Giveaway: TWO copies. Just leave a comment to be entered to win and we'll choose the winners on Sunday, May 26th after 12 PM PST.

Fun fact: You can read the first two chapters here!

Where you can read more about Meg: Her website, Facebook and Twitter.



First:  Surely my first kiss was from my mother or father in the moments after my birth. Did you expect something steamy? A good Philly girl never kisses and tells!

Last: Well, okay, maybe just this once: After a week of not kissing for fear of passing the flu to my husband, I am finally healthy and we shared a sweet kiss without the specter of plague attached. I hope.


First: It’s not the first book I read, but I remember being particularly enthralled by Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. I don’t recall the story, but I know I thought it was beautiful and very sad. I wonder if that was one of the first times I enjoyed the experience of reading something that made me sad? It seems like a monumental, and mature, moment in one’s life as a reader. (I just went online to read the summary of Bridge to Terabithia, and got something—ahem—stuck in my eye. So turns out I’m still carrying around a little seed of sadness planted by this book twenty-five years ago.)

Last: Speaking of beautiful and sad, the last book I read was Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. This book haunted my dreams over the course of time that I read it. I found it to be quite devastating, in part because Atkinson’s characters are so vivid and whole.


First: I think some of the earliest risks I took were with humor. Being funny takes guts—you put yourself out there, and hope your sense of humor will resonate with others too. Sometimes there’s nothing scarier for a kid than just opening her mouth and speaking; fear of rejection can be a muzzle. Looking back, I realize that the jokes that fell flat (and there have been many over the years) were actually confidence builders. The world didn’t end when I swung and missed. I learned to laugh at myself and the cricket-filled dead air that follows an unsuccessful stab at humor, and that ability to laugh, shrug, and move on has served me well.

Last: My last big risk was when All the Summer Girls was published. I spend a long span of time working on a book in private; releasing it into the public sphere is both scary and exciting.


First: When I was in graduate school for creative writing, the Gettysburg Review published one of my short stories. It was the first time I was paid for my fiction, and the story attracted the attention of a couple of agents. I remember feeling very much like it was the start of my dream coming true. I was right, if only in that the experience gave me the confidence to continue believing in myself. Last: In April, my husband and I left our kids with his parents and went to Palm Springs for my birthday. We read for hours in the sun, swam, hiked, ate delicious food, and had Bellinis every morning. It was glorious. Hell ya!


First: During a back-to-school shopping trip with my mom when I was in middle school, she asked if I cared what brand my clothes were. The truth was that I did care about the brand of my clothes—I wanted to be cool, sue me!—but just my mom asking the question was enough to remind me that the coolest kids are the ones that march to the beat of their own drum, the ones that do things their own way, in pursuit of their own brand of happiness. Her question has served as a bit of a touchstone over the years.

Last: I’m in the early stages of working on my third book, and while I have had the general story arc in mind for a while, it has taken some time to feel like I have a handle on the important details that take a story from an idea to a novel. Lately, I’ve had a few breakthroughs, my protagonist is revealing herself, and many of the more intricate plot points are finally coming together and taking shape. I’m excited!

Thanks, Meg!