Around the Next Corner
By Chrissy Dionne
Jun 9, 2006 - 8:39:00 PM

Like many housewives, Deena Munger spends her days doing chores and taking care of her family which they take for granted. Somewhere along the way, she lost any semblance of being an individual. Hopes, dreams, even her personal preferences have all taken a back seat to the needs and desires of her family. Deena realizes that she's become non-existent as an indivdual and is desperately unhappy. Who'd have guessed that an afternoon eating corn pops and watching Oprah would be the catalyst that changes her life as well as the lives of those around her?

Heloise is a yellow Labrador puppy. She's only ten weeks old when she comes to live with Deena and her family. Heloise is little more than a ball of energetic fur with the honor of having been selected to be part of the K-9 Eyes for the Blind program. For approximately fourteen months, Heloise will live with the Mungers in their neat orderly world and ensure that life will change for them all in ways they never expected.

While Deena is trying to retrieve their Persian cat from the pots and pans cupboard she begins to wonder how her life turned out this way. She's a dog person, so why is she living in a cat world? She's even scrubbing the floor grout with a tooth brush. Sex has become a Saturday morning scheduled event, which she now has no interest in and does her best to avoid. Deena's disappeared, in her place is a shell of a woman who caters to the whims of her husband, children, and even the cat. However, none of them ever return the favor. Her feelings do not matter in the big scope of things, or do they? She couldn't forget the episode of Oprah she'd watched about 'using your life.'  After yet another day of ceaseless demands and the mundane existence that her life has become, Deena made a decision. She spent some time researching about getting involved in the K-9 Eyes for the Blind program, and even interviewed for raising a dog - all before telling any of her family about her desire to do so. None of them are pleased, it will disrupt their lives and they all know it. For once Deena is going to satisfy her own desires, and the family will just have to accept her decision. Will Deena's decision be the final straw in Neil and Deena's already crumbling marriage? Maybe it will provide a stepping stone to help breach the walls they've built between them.

I am so impressed with Elizabeth Wrenn's writing. She alternately had me laughing and crying all the way through AROUND THE NEXT CORNER. It's a poignantly sweet tale and many married women will be able to relate to Deena. Yes, Deena is menopausal, but I am not and I can easily see myself in her shoes. The chaos that seems to rein when Heloise joins the family is absolutely hilarious. I have visual images of this overweight cat living on top of a refrigerator and this puppy gleefully terrorizing it. Ms. Wrenn does a beautiful job demonstrating both the joy and the heartache in raising guide dogs. In the midst of all the pandemonium, Deena learns a few things about herself, life, and love which may just help glue her life back together.

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