The Dog Walkers
Ali Doyle, a thirty-two-year-old engineer, discovers her boyfriend – who is also the legal counsel at the suburban Philadelphia software company where she works – has no intention of marrying her. After an uncharacteristically emotional confrontation, Ali ends this two-year relationship. However, the fear of seeing her ex at work and losing all control causes her to feign an illness, self-isolating in her apartment. At first, she’s fine with the solitude, but when Ali tries to leave, she’s incapable of venturing outside.
Yet, while feeling lost and hopeless in this self-quarantined state, Ali discovers solace to her loneliness by watching dog walkers from her front window. In an effort to find human connection, she creates imaginative back stories for these strangers and their pets. Ultimately, it’s her concern for an elderly gentleman and his golden retriever, as well as advice from an unexpected voice inside of her head, that give her the strength to leave her apartment building and begin her journey to wellness.
As Ali reemerges from her isolated state, she meets several of The Dog Walkers, learning their real names and true identities. Through this process, she forms friendships, finds guidance, and eventually falls in love. But most importantly, Ali recovers the missing pieces of herself that she had given away as she confidently learns to release boundaries, surrender control, and establish trust.
Like Michelle's other books, the Dog Walkers is instantly captivating and makes you want to find out more about the fate of the main character, Ali. This book brings you into the mind and world of Ali and touches on isolation and loneliness, something that most people are experiencing more than usual the past 2 years. The Dog Walkers dives into the mental health issues of extreme isolation, anxiety, and loneliness in a beautiful way while also creating an entertaining story that many young adult women can relate to.
I enjoyed The Dog Walkers from first page to last! It was encouraging, uplifting and an excellent distraction from our uncertain times. The characters are well thought out and you feel a part of all of their lives. What a great concept, map out the lives of strangers around you and become part of their worlds. I found myself picking up the book whenever I had a spare moment to see where the characters went next. It led you through a range of emotions, from tears to joy, what more can you ask from a book than that!
The Dog Walkers is a great read! It is a lovely novel is appealing in a variety of ways, with an intriguing story line and wonderful character development, as well as timely insights into quarantining (self-imposed, but thought provoking nonetheless), and the value of community. Throughout the novel, the
reflections are very applicable to my life, and I suspect others’. By the end, I truly cared about Ali and wanted the very best for her. I would totally recommend this book!
5.0 out of 5 stars Relax and enjoy! - Barbara Bentz
I really enjoyed The Dog Walkers. Michelle’s style of writing makes you feel like you are right there with the characters, you knew how they were thinking. A great escape from my everyday life. Didn’t want it to end.