Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Last Family in England by Matt Haig

Paperback: 341 pages
Genre: Humorous Fiction
Publisher: Vintage 2005
Source: I have no idea but I selected it from my bookshelves to fulfil the letter L in the A - Z Title Challenge
First Sentence: 'Dogs like to talk'
Favourite Quote: ' I now realise that there is a fundamental difference between us and humans and it is a difference which highlights why they need our help. the difference is this: whereas dogs can learn to suppress their instincts, for humans there is no hope.'
Review Quote: 'A comic tour de force.....A desperately sad view from underneath as a family falls apart' The Times.
Note:  This title is published as ' The Labrador Pact' in the USA. 
My Opinion
Written as humorous fiction I did actually find it rather sad. 

It took me a long time to get into this and I nearly gave up. My husband said I should continue and he was right!  I liked it in the end and was glad I persevered but it is not going to stand out as a favourite read for this year, guess that is probably why it sat so long on our bookshelves before I selected it for the Letter L in the A - Z Title Challenge.

I am an animal lover but I definitely prefer cats to dogs so I did not find it easy to empathise with the narrator of the story ' Prince' who just happens to be a Labrador Retriever.  Prince feels responsible for his human family and he cares for them under the rules of ' The Labrador Pact' as he struggles to save the family from being broken up by outside influences. 

The Shakespeare quotes before the novel starts, within plus characters names led me to recognise that  the author is using some of the situations from the History Plays Hamlet and Henry IV.  Although to be honest I never really understood the reasoning beyond showing us that Prince in his efforts to save his family will put his own life under threat.

Written as humorous fiction I did actually find it rather sad.  The issues covered are serious ones, love, commitment to our families and dealt with in a way that I found difficult to relate to.  Matt Haig's  style of humour may not appeal to me in this novel, very much although I did laugh.  His writing is without a doubt very clever and it is definitely worth reading for that reason alone.

Author Profile

Matt Haig was born in 1975 in Sheffield, and grew up in Newark, Nottinghamshire. Since then he has lived in Nottingham, Ibiza and London.  He studied  English and History at Hull , then Leeds Universities, for his MA.   After running his own internet marketing company and working for a nightclub in Spain, he became a full-time writer. He writes for various national newspapers, including The Guardian and The Independent. and in 2009 won the Yorkshire Young Achievers 'Achievement in the Arts' Award. He now lives  in York with his wife the writer Andrea Semple and their children Lucas and Pearl.

The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites where you can also learn more about the author and his writing.

Goodreads - Author Profile    Matt Haig - Author Official Website  
Matt Haig - Wikipedia    Matt Haig - Facebook     

I have chosen to read this title as the letter L for The A - Z Book Challenge which I have decided to attempt to achieve in alphabetical order. I have a good selection of titles to choose from our bookshelves, it will be interesting to see how far I can get before I get stuck. You can follow my progress here.   


  1. Just a quick note to let you know that you are now featured in my Featured Book Blogs sidebar this month. Cheers

  2. very interesting!

    I like the idea.
    I was thinking on these lines today. On how would xyz person think or xyz animal think.

    Nice! :)

  3. Hi Linda,

    At first glance, my thoughts were "this is not a book for me" and I have to say that the whole concept of having a book written from a dog's point of view, is still not one with which I am comfortable.

    After visiting the author's webstite though, I am almost convinced that I should be adding all his books to my list, as I left the site smiling and happy and quite addicted to the quirky nature of the storytelling.

    If I do succumb and end up reading a book narrated by an animal, I have to say 'bring on the dog' every time, I am definitely not a cat person!!

    Thanks for the honest review and for providing a fun few minutes with the author,


  4. I am in love with this idea. I am not much of an animal lover but getting to know the perspective of an animal sounds interesting. Thanks for this review.

  5. Carole@ Why thankyou I will pop over to visit.
    Divenita@ I think you would find this one interesting then.
    Fiction-books@ I am so pleased that you looked beyond the review, this is exactly what I am hoping readers will do.
    Vibha@ Give it a try it is worth it.


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