William Churchill often spoke of his “black dog” of depression. Mr Chartwell imagines what might have happened if that black dog had been real.
Black Pat is the man-sized Labrador responsible for Churchill’s depression.
The book begins with Black Pat replying to an advertisement for a room to rent – surprising the landlady, Esther. Bemused, she offers him a room and begins a difficult relationship with the over-sized dog.
Black Pat has to be one of the best characters I’ve come across recently – I loved the originality of the talking, giant dog and enjoyed his attempts at fitting into human society. Some of his scenes had me crying with laughter (especially the one where he tried to barbecue a coot), but despite the comedy of several sections I found this book to be unsatisfying overall. I thought that the book contained a series of fantastic scenes, but thought that the plot was quite weak and some of the connecting sections failed to grab my attention.
Mr Chartwell was short and easy to read and so I flew through it in a couple of sittings, but I felt that the lightness and humour took something away from the subject matter. I never felt Churchill’s depression or saw Black Pat as anything more than a giant mischievous animal. This book should have had darker undercurrents and some insight into depression, but instead it just skirted around the real issues.
Overall this book had a fantastic premise and some sparks of genius, but it didn’t quite work for me.
The thoughts of other bloggers:
I loved the opening chapters of this book but started to lose interest a little bit as I got further into the story. She Reads Novels
I completely fell for this book; it was a single sitting read. It’s original, compelling, poignant, witty and rather dark too – a perfect mixture. Savidge Reads
I came away from Mr Chartwell feeling that it hadn’t quite achieved what it seemed to be aiming for. Follow the Thread