Trump Dog – Wild Tales of Lies, Hair Dye and Dog Poop
Independently Published (2020)
Reviewed by Lee Barckmann for Reader Views (03/2022)
“Trump Dog – Wild Tales of Lies, Hair Dye and Dog Poop” is a funny book, a light satire that is well paced and delivers ironic and goofy jokes throughout. This is the 4th humor book that Jim Tilbury has written and he has mastered his craft. While the reader who dislikes Trump will probably be more likely to enjoy it, the story is unpretentious and delivers chuckles galore, and will keep most readers engaged.
It begins some number of years after the passing of Donald Trump. Jerry is a nebbish freelance artist of uncertain age, who never cared one way or the other about Trump, who never watched cable news, and who didn’t even remember Trump passing. Jerry is lonely, so he changed his dating profile to “dog owner” and went to the pound and got a yellow hound-lab mutt-bitch with a few blotches of burnt orange. The dog, Mabel, poops in the house at night, jumps on people, and gets into the trash. Jerry hopes he can meet a woman when walking Mabel.
A few days after getting Mabel, she gets into a Pumpkin pie that had been left out and stains her coat with a blurry pattern on her coat. Jerry takes Mabel for a walk and meets a neighbor who says that Mabel must be a great dog because the stain looks like a profile of Trump. Others hear about it and soon the rumor goes viral that Trump has been reincarnated as a dog.
From here, the news of “Trump Dog” goes from neighborhood sensation to Internet virality. Jerry thinks the phenomenon is very strange, but also kind of funny, and his friends all come up with schemes for how Jerry can benefit from the growing “Trump Dog” myth, both with the ladies and financially.
One note of interest – the book was published in July of 2020, before the Presidential election. We all know now that Trump was not eager to leave, and “things happened.” One of the story lines of Trump Dog is that of course some people love Jerry and Trump Dog, and others hate him, because of how they felt about the late President. Those that hate him say, “After what he did at the end of his term, I will never forgive him!” What he did in the story was somewhat prophetic.
The satire in Trump Dog is very prescient, in that in a world divided over politics, people can quickly find their allegiances in all sorts of cultural markers. They can become divided by symbols that have little political meaning. Every chapter has a fresh take on what this division means and we can see ourselves very clearly in the actions of the crowds that gather chanting “Trump Dog”, or in those who despise Trump, and therefore hate Trump Dog.
Jerry is threatened with a lawsuit from the Trump Estate, because when alive Trump had trademarked hundreds of products and ideas with the name Trump in it, including “Trump Dog.”
Ads spring up on eBay – “Genuine Trump Dog Poop Nugget. Guaranteed Satisfaction.” The so-called “nuggets” were the size of marbles, and each one came with a letter certifying genuine authenticity. The price per nugget was $19.99, along with a photo of what appeared to be a chocolate candy.”
Jerry is invited on Fox and Friends, and Mabel starts running around on the set chasing her tail.
“So I yelled, “Mabel, No! Mabel, No! No, Mabel!”
“Why are you calling him Mabel?” asked a confused Andrew. I froze and looked out the window. Silence hung in the room for what seemed like an eternity, but it was probably no more than ten seconds…—the most awkward ten seconds of my life. I could feel all of their eyes staring at me, awaiting my answer. I could sense the camera recording my blank stare. Then I thought of a plausible lie.
“I sometimes call him Mabel. M-A-B-E-L. It’s an acronym.”
“Oh, what does it stand for?”
“Um, it stands for. Let me think. I’ve been calling him Mabel for so long that I often forget what it stands for. Oh yes. ‘Make America…Better…Expel…Losers.’” “Make America Better. Expel Losers.”
“I love it!”
Anyway, I really enjoyed reading “Trump Dog.” It is filled with hilarious incidents and the prose is dry and “adult”. It is also a sly intelligent look at American political culture and where it might be headed. It’s not a literary masterpiece, but it is a fun read.