One of the privileges of editing the Books page is that, out of the hundreds of books I get in the mail each month, I get my pick of what to read.
Recently I chose a novel titled “The Middlesteins,” a first effort by author Jami Attenberg. The front cover featured a blurb by Jonathan Franzen, one of my favorite authors, so I eagerly anticipated the hours I would spend reading it and the review I would eventually write.
The novel, a tale of a dysfunctional Midwestern family, did not disappoint. The characters were well developed, the plot moved along at a brisk pace and the writing was crisp. I really enjoyed the 175 pages I read one Sunday curled up in my favorite chair. I left the book on the arm of that chair, planning to pick up where I left off the next day after work.
Unfortunately, that particular chair is also the favorite napping place of Melissa Moo, one of my dogs.
When I came home the next day, the book was not waiting for me where I left it. Instead, the half-chewed remains of “The Middlesteins” was sitting on the kitchen counter near the trash can, where the completely shredded dust jacket and the bookmark had been deposited by my husband.
Sure, it’s a tired cliche, but alas it is nonetheless true. The dog did indeed eat my homework.