book review: Jonathan Unleashed

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Jonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff. Viking| July 2016| 275 pages | $25.00| ISBN: 9781101980903

RATING: 3.5/5*

There’s an absurdist quality to this novel about a millennial taking care of his brother’s dogs and growing attached to them. Jonathan loses interest in his job and his fiancée, which he may never have been terribly attached to in the first place. Author Meg Rosoff finds much to say about ambling about mindlessly and figuring out one’s sense of place. She also adeptly and amusingly describes both millennials and hipsters. What I couldn’t bear was that the titular character Jonathan allowed things to happen around him and as a result to him without particularly caring. Excellent writing but not the best story I kept reading for the turns of phrase and superb vocabulary like “He never once mentioned the Byzantine quality of his dogs’ inner lives, the practical and spiritual difficulties of caring for other sentient beings..” also: “Once he took her out to lunch and tried to explain the ties that writers had with pens, how writing with a gel pen felt like slipping around in mud or transferring lines straight from brain to page, while a ballpoint indicated a frugal no-frills personality, someone you’d barely want to know.” Definitely worth reading for the high-quality writing.

–review by Amy Steele

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Viking.

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