Other People’s Pets, with its lively voice and unexpected characters, makes a perfect addition to anyone’s summer reading pile, but it is required for those who understand that coming of age has absolutely nothing to do with age.
... this engaging and poignant novel should not be pegged for animal lovers only. With its powerful exploration of a dysfunctional birth family and the life that can be made from and despite the traumas of inheritance, Other People’s Pets is, quite simply, a great read ... Resisting both despair and sentimentality, Other People’s Pets deals with the toughest stuff ... In her creation of this complex cast of compelling characters, R.L. Maizes reveals her writerly sensibility to be that of an omni-empath. In these times marked by an empathy deficit, such a quality is not only welcome but also sorely needed. Other People’s Pets is a fun read that also provides non-saccharine nourishment for one’s soul.
Immersed in La La’s complex mind and body, readers experience the dutiful daughter’s sharp empathetic pain each time she encounters yet another suffering animal. Simultaneously, we become frustrated by La La’s innate inability to truly connect with humans. La La’s 'voice' is almost deadpan, almost devoid of human emotion ... Maizes keeps readers invested with authentic care and concern for her two main characters, and possibly, though adjacently, even Elissa, whom we only merely glimpse from time to time. Still, Elissa’s final scene leaves everyone reeling, readers and characters alike. Overall, Other People’s Pets is an absorbing debut novel, one often quite difficult to put down. And even when set aside, if only momentarily, the book continues to resonate: Readers may begin to see the world differently ... a rich storyline that’s only slightly fantastical, adroitly addresses our own (hyper)reality of fact and fiction, illness and wellness, desperation and hope, love and loss.
... this debut novel brings to life a wholly original, deeply charming, and seriously flawed character whose enormous heart leads her into a mess of trouble. A beguiling tale that will make readers want to leap into the pages to save La La from herself before it's too late.
While its quirky combination of fictional elements and adroit, deadpan writing give the novel a wryly comedic atmosphere, La La’s story is melancholy and moving. An uncanny, appealing blend of suspense, irony, tragedy, and how-to for lock-picking, burgling, and ankle monitor removal.
... quirky ... Despite the novel’s farfetched premise, Maizes keeps the narrative anchored in reality, with believable details about the mechanics of a burglar’s life and a large cast of well-rounded characters. This is a beguiling twist on the familiar formula of breaking unhealthy bonds with the past.