Why My Third Husband Will Be A Dog is an extremely witty, humorous and enjoyable book. It makes for very good reading and is the perfect companion during a flight—will bring smiles and laughter to an otherwise boring flight or enjoy its cheerful funny snippets while lapping up the waves on a waterfront by the beach. Taking off from Eleanor Roosevelt’s line ‘a woman is like a teabag. You never know how strong she is until she is in hot water’, Lisa has written, as she says, about ordinary women who are extraordinary in so many ways. Women are the ‘stars’ in her stories—ordinary women like teachers, lawyers, nurses, many of whom get themselves into hot water, work their way out and come out much the stronger for the experience. She gives a hilarious reason for not having a male as a star character in her novel, ‘because I have ovaries. And I write what I know’. Completely female centric she has built her stories around everyday people, her mother, daughter, friends, her four dogs and her cats, her horse and only occasionally refers in passing to Thing 1 and Thing 2—her ex-husbands.
The title of the book is provocative and puzzles and the answer is found in her story ‘Of Dogs and Men’. The line of reasoning leading to the theory that there is a close relationship between divorce and acquiring dogs is full of fun and wit. The logic sounds bizarre but is there some force in it? Are stable human families being replaced by stable dog families? The number of divorces and the number of dogs acquired are sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly proportional —so which comes first, the dog or the divorce? ‘Is the new dog acquired as a result of the new divorce? In other words do we trade our husband in for a dog?’(he sleeps on the ex-husband’s side of the bed, snores, tosses and farts ) or does it lead to ‘your fourth divorce’? Very interesting and intriguing and sets the tone for the other stories in the book.
In a story on Empowerment Lisa discusses the powers that she wants, she does not want superpowers just normal powers, she does not want to be a superwoman who turns people into sand or spin webs on her fingers, she gives a wish list of powers she wants, and this wish list is something every woman would relate to as everyone has the same issues—cannot find the car keys, to eat anything and not grow fat, to apply eyeliner without it running, locate a working pen while on the phone! Does not this wish list sound familiar to everyone? In another one of her stories titled ‘Betty and Veronica’, she enumerates the desirable qualities of Betty—what she should be— simple, trustworthy and good and on the other hand craves secretly to be Veronica, a really rich gorgeous, sophisticated, sexy woman—echoing every girl’s dream and desire.
Lisa’s greatest friends are her dogs and there is a lovely description of her dogs and a very amusing narration of the characteristics of her three golden retrievers and her corgi. Talking of giving drugs to dogs, she says very proudly, how many parents can say that ‘dog is on drugs but their kid isn’t.’
Under all the wit, fun and humour there are some emotional and touching narrations. Growing up of children and their movement away from you, which, though required, necessary and inevitable, still hurts. ‘You are happy for your kid but sad for yourself.’ Having been a good and loving parent you will miss the child when he/she leaves your fold. Lisa, however has an answer to this—think of the child as just travelling through and you her caretaker, not her owner. It does not imply that she won’t come back—you never know. No sermonizing, no heart wrenching narration, and she ends, true to her style, on a light humourous note—‘You can always hold the cats hostage’.
The visit to the White House, the flights of fancy of being the President, redecorating the place, of being the ‘Queen’ making her home as she would like it to be, has been honestly and humourously brought out. Everyone would immediately relate to this—everyone has these flights of fancy, but how many would admit it!
Is interrupting a person when they are talking, bad manners? Lisa certainly does not think so. Her very novel interpretation to interruptions is ‘excitement’—a very positive and healthy response which shows you are so excited and interested in what the other person is saying that you cannot wait to add, complement, or give an example of your own to what the other person is saying! Height of good manners—couples sitting in a restaurant not talking so that they do not interrupt each other!
Lisa is a must read for her amusing snippets, her turn of phrase and short crisp sentences. Talking about her mother’s backscratcher which goes with her mother when she leaves. ‘Now I need to go out and buy a new backscratcher. Preferably with a mommy attached.’ Narrating a tale on lawns with dandelions, and putting ‘pretty balls of poison’ on the grass to kill the flowers she ends up in her true inimitable style—‘Sadly the dandelions went away, and happily so did Thing Two’.
Endless punch lines: ‘I like nature just fine, so long as it stays outside’. ‘And why have a meal, when you can have a meal replacement. You can throw away all your silverware—and your teeth’. ‘—when an older woman dates a younger man, she’s called a predator. When an older man dates a younger woman, he’s called a success.’ A very wickedly witty, funny and delightful compendium of everyday incidents, can be read from anywhere to anywhere, no burden of a story—pick up and read anytime, anywhere and enjoy a good wholesome laugh.
Indu Liberhan taught in Lady Sriram College before joining the civil services. After a varied career in Government, she retired from the Ministry of Defence as Secretary, Defence Finance.