Pavlov’s Dog by David Kurman

21.pavlovs dog_david kurman
Rating: 3/5 stars. 

Genre(s): Fiction; Literary Fiction

“The only acting credit on the back of Stan Pavlov’s headshot is -appeared in court-. But one day, his life takes an unexpected change – for the worse – when his beloved Dog inadvertently gets cast in the commercial Stan was auditioning for. Pavlov’s Dog moves to L.A. and ascends to stardom: The Royal Shakespeare Company, an animated series, a late-night talk show. Stan quits. He has flushed acting out of his system, until… The Dog, sick and broke, needs money for an operation (having blown all his on chew toys and bitches). To raise cash, Stan grudgingly agrees to become a prime-time game-show host. Stan finds that everything he ever wanted – money, fame, attention – is not actually what he really wanted. Trashing hotel rooms, robbing banks, punching fans who don’t want to take his picture can’t erase the simple truth: there is no loneliness quite as profound as a man separated from his dog. David Kurman’s brilliant social satire is a hilarious look at the absurdity and fickleness of modern fame.”

Although the title is Pavlov’s Dog, this story is about Stan Pavlov, not his dog. Scroll down to the fun facts section at the bottom to find out why. Readers enter the life of an actor who probably wouldn’t make it. And with just the first chapters we can see why. I could only describe Stan as clumsy and incompetent, and my questions at this stage is: Why would he think he could become an actor?

I needed time to settle myself into this book and to sync with the author’s voice. I get that the author’s using humour and sarcasm but I needed time to make it flow. Reading it felt awkward at first, most probably due to the genres I’ve been reading previous to this one. However, I still feel these first few chapters can be polished more. David Kurman definitely has a different voice and tone (in a good way) to other books I’ve read and reviewed.

David Kurman used the first few chapters to make me detest the lead character. I just had to go “ugh Stan, ew Stan, come on Stan”. I mean, The guy stuffs his face AND his pocket full of shrimp, for goodness sakes. But the author was just setting readers up for the life-changing event i.e. him becoming a game show host. It came out of nowhere and suddenly I (and the people around him) didn’t dislike Stan so much. Suddenly, he was tolerable. It’s baffling how fame changes other people’s perception of you.

Reading this makes you view the entertainment industry in a whole new light. You may not like what you discover. At first, the tone was humorous with a touch of bitter truth but towards the end, it’s intense anger and resentment.

Readers who enjoy sarcasm and satire should grab this book immediately.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy via Netgalley.

Pages: 192

Published: November 24th 2017 by Roundfire Books

Goodreads | Kindle US | Kobo | NOOK


Fun facts:
#1 The dog’s name was never mentioned. Was always referred to as ‘the dog’.
#2 Pavlov’s Dog is a reference to Pavlovian Conditioning. It describes how, for example, a dog learns to do tricks by being rewarded with treats.


This book ticks off items from my reading challenges this year!

✅ P (A to Z Reading Challenge)

✅ 29: A book with an animal in the title (POPSUGAR Reading Challenge)


About David Kurman:

“David Kurman has spent twenty years in advertising despite never having committed a crime of any kind. Pavlov’s Dog is his first novel (that he has written, not read, obviously). He lives in a secluded shack with his anxiety and a vast menagerie of compulsions. He has never owned a dog.”

Source: Publisher’s website

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