The Dog Walker - Corwyn Alvarez
Released February 2012
Bell Bridge Books
Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth
When I first asked to review The Dog Walker, I'd read a promo stating the book followed "the tradition of Forrest Gump." That's one of my all-time favorite movies, and I guess not a good reason to choose a book. As I read, the comparisons between this book and Forrest Gump often struck me as just too much. The setting and characters may be different, but throwing in a woman much like Jenny and war vet seemed too coincidental to be a coincidence in my eyes. I couldn't get past it.
The Dog Walker is about a somewhat dim-witted 17-year-old dropout. His mother wants him to go back to school, but school was not the place for him. Instead, he starts up a dog walking business with the promise that if it doesn't work out, he'll go back to school. He plans to make sure his business works out though.
Benny's passion for dogs is clear. He relates to them and appreciates their nonjudgmental attitudes. When he's not working, he's visiting his friend, a local drug dealer, or a prostitute that his friend sets him up with. At this point, the plot of the book seems to focus on Benny's love for this prostitute and their growing relationship.
Part of me wonders, had I never read the promo likening this book to Forrest Gump if I'd have picked up on the similarities. I do think I would have. Chloe is a lot like Gump's Jenny. The vet isn't as similar, and I did enjoy his character. I found myself perturbed by Benny's mother who bounced from friendly one minute to downright cold the next. Her defeatist attitude bothered me.
I have this feeling that The Dog Walker is one of those books that readers will either really get and love, or simply not connect with at all and therefore be a book they'd rather throw at the wall. I never connected with Benny and therefore really didn't enjoy this snippet from his life.