Jonathan is a young New Yorker on the cusp of something in life. He just isn't quite sure what.
In "Jonathan Unleashed" by Meg Rosoff, Jonathan has a respectable job in advertising, an enviable (albeit questionably legal) apartment in Manhattan and a steady girlfriend. So why does everything seem so desperately astray? Why is his mind madly rebelling against the proverbial adult checklist he's cultivated for himself? What does it mean to be a "grown up" anyhow, he wonders. Does it involve trying so hard to figure out your destiny that you make choices you know you'll probably regret just to find a definitive answer to the question, "Where will I be in 10 years?"
Fortunately, the dogs he's tasked with caring for have an agenda all their own. Dante, the border collie, and Sissy, the spaniel, disrupt Jonathan's life in fantastically opportune and incisive romps throughout New York City. What do dogs know that we don't? A lot, apparently.
I had great fun with this novel. Rosoff balances wit, charm and insight seamlessly in a book that dog-loving literary fiction fans can enjoy. It's a quick read and at times, laugh-out-loud hilarious. But don't let the dog-walking and romance detract from the sapience of Rosoff's prose. It's poignant and tugging for all those who wonder where they're going in life. It probably wouldn't hurt to get a dog to walk along beside you.
Noelle Parker is the Osage branch manager for the Missouri River Regional Library.