Michiko Kakutani, Impersonating the Family Guy Dog, Reviews a Book


So far as omens that this will be an interesting day go, you cannot do much better than Michiko Kakutani, the Times lead book reviewer, writing a piece in the voice of Brian the dog from Family Guy, unless you can summon a pigeon to fall out of the sky at your feet. For her review of Andrew O'Hagan's The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog and His Friend Marilyn, a novel narrated by Marilyn Monroe's pooch Maf, Kakutani puts what seem to be her years of Family Guy watching to use. (This is not her first attempt at ventriloquism. Previously, she channeled Holden Caulfied to review Ben Kunkel's Indecision and Ally McBeal to review Bridget Jones.) Brian the dog more or less likes the novel: "I, Brian Griffin, your best-selling competitor and colleague in the literary trenches, award you for your novel — er, memoir — a coveted three out of four paws up." Though he finds it to be a bit slight ("he’s contributed exactly nada to the zeitgeist") and pretentious ("Marilyn and Keats? Really? It’s like Maf calling Marilyn his 'fated companion' and giving this memoir a title lifted from 'Tristram Shandy.' (Yeah, Maf, you diminutive teller of shaggy dog stories, I got that allusion in your pretentious title.) How annoying is that?" Someone really missed an opportunity by not reviewing Freedom in the voice of cerulean warbler. [NYT]