Peter Gethers' popular memoirs about his beloved cat, Norton, put his name on the literary map. In Ask Bob: A Novel, Gethers tackles fiction, telling the story of Dr. Robert Heller, a prominent New York City veterinarian who also authors a newspaper column called, "Ask Dr. Bob," which addresses the concerns and woes of pet owners. Dr. Bob is no-nonsense in the delivery and approach of his column--and with his patients and their owners--but he's not as direct in his personal life. He comes from a dysfunctional family that has made his role as son, brother, uncle and lover a muddled, thorny challenge. When Bob meets and falls in love with a woman whose family has more issues than his, he takes solace in their romance and the security of his job, concluding that he understands animals better than people. But when tragedy strikes, Bob is forced to step beyond his comfort zone and tend to the people he loves and cares for the most.
Gethers has written a smart, lively novel infused with romance and heartfelt, real-life complications of family and domesticity. The book centers upon the women in Dr. Bob's life who influence him the most during an eighteen-year period from when Bob is 24 years old until he turns 42. The interspersed addition of several of Dr. Bob's newspaper columns and his charming, insightful notes about certain clients and important people in his life add levity and humor to some heavier aspects and themes.
Henry Holt and Co., $24.00, Hardcover, 9780805093315, 320 pp
Publication Date: August 6, 2013
Note: This review is a reprint and is being posted (in a slightly different form) with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (8/9/13), click HERE