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Carmen Dog Paperback – Nov 1 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Emshwiller ( Verging on the Pertinent ) stretches a conceit past the breaking point in this uneven allegory. Women are degenerating into various animals, and female animals are acquiring human characteristics. The men are puzzled, but don't much mindg ; animals, they realize, are ideal companions ("Relationships and responsibilities were less confining. After all, they merely involved dumb animals who were not worth consideration, politeness, time, effort, gifts"). Her fantastic premise allows Emshwiller canny and frequently hilarious insights into the damaging sex-role stereotypes both men and women perpetuate (a dog's visit to a psychologist is a highlight). But she juggles too many genres here--the g plot turns on mad scientists, academic conspiracies, formula romances--without sustaining the reader's interest in the central story of human/animal metamorphoses. Eventually the g social critique is swallowed by increasingly silly scenarios.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
""A novel about women turning into animals and animals turning into women, perhaps the funniest and the cruellest of her books, a sort of feminist Candide. The kindness of the innocent heroine, Pooch, triumphs over cruelty in the end, which is happy; at least it is if you want it to be. Even Pooch's children turn out well, 'setters, and all male.' Why this book isn't a feminist classic I don't know. Maybe it is. Maybe that's why people haven't heard about it. It should be a required text on Gender in all high schools and colleges."See all Product Description
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book was funny; however, the way that it poked fun at gender roles and modern-day society went much deeper than mere humor.
The main character is Pooch, a golden setter, who becomes a young woman. Pooch's mistress at the same time is turning into a snapping turtle and when she bites the baby, Pooch takes over raising the child. After a little bit she leaves the family home, where she continues to sleep on a doormat, and takes the child with her. At first she winds up at the pound with some very interesting characters and the baby is left in her care. Then she winds up as an experiment in a lab run by a cold and calculating doctor and assisted by his half-transformed wife, Rosemary. Rosemary will play an even bigger part in the book later on.
Carmen Dog is a very funny and insightful book and don't worry nothing too terribly awful happens to any of the characters unless becoming a snapping turtle sounds horrible. The author shows us how societal roles can inhibit people, women and men alike. This is a funny feminist satire of gender roles, animal/human relationships, and social institutions.
I highly recommend.
I didn't really care for the feminist tones in this book. I thought men were portrayed in an extremely negative way. Still, I could overlook this and find an interesting story of animals becoming human and humans becoming animals.
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