If you are in need of a good laugh (and who isn’t these days?), writer L.A. Knight’s most recent book, Dog Training the American Male, should do the trick. In Dog Training, Knight, aka Steve Alten, author of 15 thrillers — his book Meg is being made into a movie in 2018 starring Jason Statham — shines a spotlight on the pursuit of romance’s most fascinating parts … quite literally.
Nancy Beach, PhD, is a relationship counselor with a dull and failing radio show who, like all the other characters, is lonely, seriously maladjusted, in crisis, and in a fever of continual lust. Add dogs to the plot, and midway through the book it’s clear just how literal the title is. In their goal to train the men in their lives, Nancy and her friends Ruby, a surgically voluptuous woman on the make; Helen, who is married to a gynecologist who takes his work too seriously; and their frustrated female cohorts will go to any length to get their men to stop being the clueless slobs they are and shape up. Suffice it to say that prong collars are involved.
To read some of Knight’s detailed descriptions requires a love of the revolting: Two of the characters in the book are a raunchy and libidinous couple, and some of the others are getting tucks and tightening procedures one hopes don’t actually exist. Still, the book isn’t entirely about sex — men’s slovenliness and their refusal to put the toilet seat down, as well as women’s raging PMS and insistence on order, also get fair play. The bottom line is that neither gender has a clue about what makes the other tick, yet somehow in the end they make it work.
Dog Training is guaranteed to get your mind off politics, annoying relatives, unappreciative children, and your cat clawing its way up your sofa. It’s a little holiday of fascinated horror and hilarity that will leave you feeling well adjusted by comparison to the characters.