"It's his way of showing he doesn't like you."
"That's not normal! What the--?"
AW snarled loudly, baring his teeth. He shimmied backward, shaking his bottom even more aggressively. Bill backed up.
"Stop it, AW!" shouted Emily. The dog ignored her, still gyrating.
"Hey, that dog is a freak--"
"Listen, Ass-Wipe!" Emily yelled. The dog jerked his head toward her.
"What did you call me?" Bill shouted.
"Not you! The dog. That's his name."
"What the hell is wrong with you, naming a dog Ass-Wipe?" Bill stared at her with beady pig eyes, sweat dotting his pink brow.
"Don't you think it fits him?" Emily said, smiling sweetly.
Emily considers herself to be practical, but in reality, she has lived her life scared, in a little bubble that, much to my chagrin, frequently includes bigotry. At first, I too saw Emily as a practical, intelligent, yet emotionally isolated woman. Towards the middle of the book, however, I began to realize that all of my assumptions were wrong about her. She is not practical, but scared. She is not intelligent, but a fool. She doesn't learn from her mistakes (as evidenced by her admitting that she'd wrongly judged someone, then proceeding to judge the person yet again in the next scene). She judges people and believes her own judgement is infallible, even though her own life is falling apart and the people she is judging are actually doing just fine. This drove me nuts, and, probably because of a lot of the parallels I saw with my own personality, I was irritated that the author couldn't seem to get the personality quite right. For example, Emily appears to have or be bordering on obsessive-compulsive disorder. And yet, she frequently doesn't do the proper research that anyone with OCD would have done. They would be incapable of acting without it. Like knowing exactly how many people die a year in the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona or knowing the tensile strength of cord used for Parasailing or knowing that no one would freeze to death in tropical waters after a plane crash.
That being said, the book recovered itself and I thoroughly enjoyed the ending.
On a side note, though he didn't have to terribly big a role in the story, I couldn't help but love Emily's dog, AW a.k.a. Ass-Wipe. I think he might have cracked me up more than any other character in the book. I wish he'd had a larger role. But then, I love dogs. And AW is a real charmer.
It has been brought to my attention that some have taken this review, and my use of the word "bigot," the wrong way. Much of the story arc is about Emily overcoming her own assumptions and prejudices of the people around her. Bigot, by definition, does not mean racist. That was not my intention and I apologize to the author for the misunderstanding. Bigot, according to Merriam-Webster, means: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group with hatred and intolerance.
Riley J. Ford has always been a writer, but she'd read somewhere that you should never write for publication until you've gained a lot of life experience first. She took this advice seriously, especially during her time at UCLA when she attended as many social gatherings as possible while still maintaining an honorable grade point average. She took great pride in her degree until the graduation commencement speaker joked, "I hope all you English majors consider the extremely low-paid but rewarding profession of teaching, as that is all your degree is good for." He was met with an abundance of eye rolling and nervous laughter, most of it from Riley J. Ford who was thinking, "No way in hell."
To her, teaching seemed as boring as listening to Muzak in an orthodontist's office while making bucked-tooth molds. To prove she could do anything with an English degree, she rebelliously went into banking instead. She soon learned the error of her ways, as banking is not the giggle-fest it's portrayed to be, and she ultimately turned to teaching after all. Fortunately, offering instruction to court-ordered convicts during the Los Angeles riots gave Riley J. Ford the excitement and personal adventures she craved. She also learned how important it is to live . . . literally. She was surprised to find she loved teaching, and eventually went on to become an ESL instructor and high school teacher with her very own parking space. A marriage and two kids later, she realized she'd gained more than enough life experience to become an author and dived headfirst into writing INTO YOU, her first work of fiction. She is also the author of the upcoming novel, CARPE DiEMILY, which she guarantees will make you piss your pants laughing, so be sure to wear a diaper. She currently lives in California with her family.
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