When your love life isn’t going so well, who do you need to fix it? In this case, a pug named Doug might do the trick.

Pug Actually is available now!

Pug Actually is available now!

Author of this endearing tale, Matt Dunn, has many other romantic comedy books under his belt, including The Ex-Boyfriend’s Handbook and A Day at the Office. He has also written about life, love, and relationships for various publications including The Times, Guardian, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Company, as well as Elle and The Sun.

The synopsis

Doug is a loving, loyal rescue pug who simply wants the best for his owner, Julie. However, when Julie becomes even more infatuated with her married boss, Luke (who Doug despises), the lovable pooch makes it his mission to throw her off his scent.

Doug doesn’t want Julie to remain under Luke’s spell any longer, and after being introduced to Tom, the pug is convinced he’s the man for Julie – even though he is a V-E-T.

While Doug doesn’t quite understand humans and their oddities, he may just know enough to tear Julie from Luke, and lead her into Tom’s path.

Can Doug the pug rescue his owner, just as she rescued him?

So, what did I think?

When I read the plot for Pug Actually, it may have been the fastest acceptance to read a proof copy I’ve ever sent; and I couldn’t be happier with what I received.

Pug Actually is a genuinely funny story about an adorable pug (with the best name, might I add) who simply wants the best for his owner Julie, who is in a rather questionable relationship – if you could call it that – with her boss, Luke.

Doug warmed my heart from the very first page. His charismatic, caring personality shone through instantly; it seemed as though Doug was on a pedestal representing all dogs, in that I loved him from the second I opened the book.

Speaking of Doug, as he is of course the main character, the way Dunn has written this story through the eyes of a dog is amazing enough, but Doug was the perfect dog to use for this purpose.

The way in which the adorable pug explained events unfolding around him was both hilarious and enchanting.

Doug seemed to have a decent grasp of human life, but there are things he doesn’t understand; this leads him to explain some things I knew about very badly and, as a result, a laugh escaped me every few pages.

His description of Julie and her love life with Luke was actually much more honest than I was expecting. Despite Doug adoring the woman who feeds, waters and walks him, he knows that she is unhappy and even he knows exactly why.

The language used by Dunn was nothing short of perfection; I really did feel as though I was reading a dog’s thoughts, which is as amazing as it sounds. Everything Doug does, from huffing in agreement and eating everything in sight, to literally leading Julie down the right path, embodies the wondrous beings that are dogs.

The narrative in which Doug finds himself in is also brilliant. I quite like a bit of drama, romantic or otherwise, so Pug Actually’s plot was deeply enjoyable. Julie is often down in the dumps due to Luke saying he’ll leave his wife (but hasn’t managed to just yet), and her friend Priya often comes round with wine and crisps to console her.

While Julie may be sad and the apple of her dog’s eye, Doug knows better (as do we) that Julie is in the wrong a little bit. I liked how, despite Doug’s love for Julie, he never failed to see things how they were - literally in black and white.

The book was perfectly paced, and didn’t go in a straight line, which I loved. Julie’s (somewhat unwilling) battle to move on from Luke went well one moment, then awful the next; this is how life is sometimes, and I related to the idea that success or moving on from something is never as easy as we want it to be.

Pug Actually was an easy, enjoyable read that morphed my mouth into a smile with every single word I read. Doug’s adoration and enjoyment of life was so uplifting, and his attitude towards love and how simple things can really be was more than charming.

Doug had some great lines within the book, but my favorite will always be when he stated he felt ‘like a gooseberry’, which made me laugh perhaps a little too much.

The fact that a little rescue pug was at almost every event his owner was, and that he was included in conversations between Julie and her father, as well as Julie and her friends, was so endearing because in reality, dogs are part of the family and Doug was certainly a pivotal part to this tale.

Doug is proof, albeit fictional proof, that the littlest of things can get you through the darkest days. I adored this book so much, as the pug’s explanations of human life were genuinely hilarious, and his self-appointed task to help Julie never failed to make me smile.

Pug Actually is an exceptional story of a pug named Doug and his battle to rescue his owner, just as she rescued him. I was charmed, entertained and, most of all, reminded of the beauty and fun this world has to offer – all thanks to Doug.

You can read the paperback of this incredible book from today (October 14th, 2021)!

Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal

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