Thursday, 3 March 2016

Dougal's Diary by Sarah Stephenson
Release Date: 14th January 2016
Publisher: Crooked Cat
Genres:  Humour

Has he chosen well and landed on his paws? Dougal the Labradoodle puppy, a complete hypochondriac and Boris Johnson’s No1 fan, arrives in Greenwich with great expectations.

He longs to travel the world on Virgin Atlantic, dine at royal banquets and become; either a superstar and party the night away or work as a doorman at the Savoy.

Behaviour classes were never on his wish list, neither were cliff-hanging experiences on the Thames, booze cruises to Calais or obsessions for eating socks.

Can he survive life with a chaotic owner and her eccentric friends? Can he deal with his jealousy when a foster puppy comes to stay? And as for his dreams, will they ever come true?

I'm not usually a great fan of books written from an animal's / pets perspective as I tend to find them a bit repetitive and a little dull but I was pleasantly surprised reading Dougal's diary. The book is written as a series of diary entries recording Dougal's days from his time as a puppy leaving the safety and familiarity of his mother and siblings, to settling in with his new 'Boss'. And what a little terror he turned out! Every day is an opportunity for Dougal to have a whole new adventure which wasn't always appreciated by the humans in his life! At times he pushed them to the limit. But, he more than makes up for everything in cuteness!

Dougal's diary entries are extremely funny at times and I found myself remembering similar things my own crazy hound got up to as a puppy............and at times still does. I could totally empathise with the fox poo incident and the losing more socks to a hungry pup than I could count! 

I read extracts from the book to my daughter who found Dougal's story totally hilarious and she fell in love with him immediately demanding we get a Dougal! I'm not quite sure my nerves could cope! An endearing book full of laughs and OMG moments! I'm now looking at my own four legged furry friend in a whole new light! 

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Sarah, who grew up in Bristol, now lives in South East London with two dogs, the occasional grandchild and a lot of mess. She’s had a chequered career as ballet dancer, cook, cleaning lady, salesgirl of outsize underwear in Littlewoods and actor. As an actor she worked mostly in the theatre: plays ranging from Shakespeare to improvised, both comedy and tragedy.

Cooking combines two of her passions; travel and people. She’s catered on barges in Burgundy, private houses in America, many stately homes in England, run a delicatessen, a stall in a farmer’s market and been a judge on the Great Taste Food Awards. Good opportunities for hearing about the lives of others.

Her need to write began with letters; sending home news of her adventures. At seventeen: travelling alone on the Trans-Siberian Railway and across the Sea of Japan. In Greece as a drama student, when the van blew up at the Springs of Daphne and they explored the mainland, riding on bread vans and tractors before selling their blood for a fiver and hitch-hiking home on a lorry. Or in Morocco on a solo trip, in pre-mobile phone days, when she was chucked off a bus in the desert and found herself surrounded by hundreds of camels and similar numbers of men, all in local dress.

Since then Sarah hasn’t stopped scribbling and joining the Write Place, a writing class in Dartford, encouraged her to put the contents of numerous exercise books into something more concrete.

These days Sarah chooses less adventurous holidays but might well send one of her characters off on a trek she doesn’t feel brave enough to make.
Dougal’s Diary is Sarah’s first book.

Twitter: Sarah: @SvsStephenson

Dougal : @DougalDiary


3 Responses so far.

  1. Well done with your first book, Sarah.

  2. A laugh from start to finish. I loved it

  3. Thank you both, Elaine and Natalie, for your encouragement.


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