4 star

Jonathan Unleashed: A Novel

By Meg Rosoff

ISBN: 9781101980903

Author website:


Jonathan UnleashedBrought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt


National Book Award finalist and bestselling author Meg Rosoff’s charming, hilarious new novel about a young New Yorker’s search for happiness and the two dogs who help him find it—the perfect summer read

Jonathan Trefoil’s boss is unhinged, his relationship baffling, and his apartment just the wrong side of legal. His girlfriend wants to marry someone just like him—only richer and with a different sense of humor. He doesn’t remember life being this confusing, back before everyone expected him to act like a grown-up.

When his brother asks him to look after his dogs, Jonathan’s world view begins to shift. Could a border collie and a cocker spaniel hold the key to life, the universe, and everything? Their sly maneuvering on daily walks and visits to the alluring vet suggest that human emotional intelligence may not be top dog after all.

A funny, wise romantic comedy set in Manhattan, Jonathan Unleashed is a story of tangled relationships, friendships, and dogs. Rosoff’s novel is for anyone wondering what to be when they grow up, and how on earth to get there.


Jonathan Unleashed: A Novel is an offbeat tale of unhinged Jonathan Trefoil. He is a true odd duck. He hates his job, worries about the state of his apartment (legal or not, who knows), and is in a relationship of years with girlfriend Julie that is less than happy. His life and thoughts change and get turned on end when his brother asks him to care for his two dogs for six months. Border collie, Dante and cocker spaniel Sissy become his conscious and litmus test for the world around him. Are the dogs unhappy in the world that seems so hard to Jonathan? Do they deserve more out of life? As he worries for their sakes, his own fears and insecurities are manifested on the dogs. So much so that he decides to take them to the vet – Dr. Zoe Clare, and see if she thinks they are ok.

Jonathan is a sad excuse for a worker and boyfriend in a way. His bizarre thoughts and thought process are a hindrance to his moving forward in either area. He and Julie have been together so long, it just seems to be the way it is. She has a chance to have a wedding paid for and telecast and actually thinks it would be a good idea. Poor Jonathan agrees since it is the easiest thing. All he really needs to make him happy are the comics he writes and draws and the dogs. The dogs are brilliant and Jonathan sees them scheme and triumph.

The characters in this book are beyond quirky. The writing is a bit out there, but brilliant. If you do not laugh out loud when Jonathan becomes ill, nothing will make you giggle. Some of the situations are outlandish and at times I did want to smack Jonathan. His love of Sissy and Dante, the respect he has for them and the desire to do what is best for them, however made it possible for me to get that desire.

Jonathan Unleashed: A Novel is a humorous and slightly romantic romp into the life of an odd yet loveable man. Filed with an intense and funny new look at dogs and how they think, Jonathan ends up learning some serious life lessons. Author Meg Rosoff’s writing was fun and deep while always a bit whack-a-doodle in this read.  You really do not have to be a dog lover to enjoy this novel, but I think it helps.  Male or female this is a fun and entertaining book for sure. Anyone in need of a lot of good laughs, a well written story and some always needed dog love – this is your book.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*