Reviewed by Melanie Kline

Dogfight, A Love Story was supposed to be about two very bad days in the life of Alfredo Batista. His brother Tariq (aka Jose) is due to be released from jail and Alfredo is not looking forward to his return. Alfredo has moved his pregnant girlfriend into his parents’ home with him; Isabel just happens to be Tariq’s ex-girlfriend and they only split up due to his two and a half year jail sentence resulting from a botched robbery. Alfredo is also desperately searching for a dog. He has planned a dogfight for the next day in honor of his brother’s return and has yet to locate a fighter dog. Adding to the mess, Alfredo has robbed a fellow drug dealer in hopes that he can give the drugs to Tariq as a peace offering slash welcome home present.

In truth, I honestly had no idea what Dogfight, A Love Story was about most of the time. The author went off on tangents – overly describing people and events that had absolutely nothing to do with anything pertinent. By the time he finally returned to the story line, I was completely lost. Here is just one example of a sentence, the likes of which characterize the entire book:

“But what Alfredo really wants to do, given the events of the last twenty-four hours, given that he was the one who failed Isabel, failed her a thousand times over, failed to not only protect her, his one responsibility in life, but actually facilitated her abuse, dropped Tariq off at home, on the doorstep, instead of at Budd’s Bar or Gianni’s Pizzeria or BQE Billiards or any one of the dozens of strips clubs on Queens Boulevard, volunteered his keys, neglected to call the house and warn her, left her exposed, shattered the life they imagined for themselves during round after round of late-night I Wish . . . because now nothing can ever be the same, not with this horrible thing between them, her mouth filling up with blood, his brother’s hands, Christian Louis cowering in the womb . . . given all that, what Alfredo really wants to do is take this can and smash himself in the face.”

I found myself skimming through the pages, utterly exasperated, trying to follow the story line, but failing and putting the book down repeatedly to go in search of aspirin.

Rating: 1.5/5

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Anchor Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.