Friday, October 07, 2016

'Jonathan Unleashed' by Meg Rosoff

7 October 2016

Seeing the American author Meg Rosoff at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August made me keen to read her latest book, ‘Jonathan Unleashed’. This is her first novel for adults, after considerable success as an author of young adult fiction. ‘Jonathan Unleashed’ (which I have just finished reading as an unabridged audio book, narrated by Luke Kempner) is a gentle, comic novel about a young man struggling to find his way in the world. Despite having an apartment in New York, a job and a girlfriend, Jonathan Trefoil feels strangely dissatisfied. Pondering the transition between between childhood and adulthood “he'd always assumed it would just happen one day he will wake up and find himself on the other side but no, here he was month after month still floundering in no man's land”. And Jonathan does a lot of pondering: he is prone to Walter Mitty-ish daydreams, worrying himself into a string of ‘what-if’s’ that seem to prevent him from making even the most basic decision. But when Jonathan’s brother moves to Dubai and asks Jonathan to look after his two dogs things begin to change. The challenges and companionship of these four-legged friends transform Jonathan’s life. ‘Jonathan Unleashed’ is a very enjoyable read that will particularly appeal to anyone familiar with looking after dogs. The New York setting and Jonathan’s angst-ridden interior monologues take us into Woody Allen territory and there are some very funny lines. When Jonathan tells his best friend Max that he is getting married because “it seemed like the right decision at the time”, Max asks in disbelief “Was someone threatening to throw a baby off a roof?!” 



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