Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Lady: My Life as a Bitch

Go To

If you gotta be a dog, be a bitch.

A 2001 novel by Melvin Burgess (who wrote the novelization of Billy Elliot).

Sandra Francy is an Ordinary High-School Student... well... she was before she started slacking off, and generally ignoring her schoolwork in favor of going clubbing, doing drugs, sleeping around, and generally having what she thinks is a 'good time'.

All that changes, however, when she has an unfortunate encounter with Terry, a tramp who's Blessed with Suck, with the ability to transform people into dogs when he gets angry.


Now stuck as a dog, Sandra (or Lady, after being named by Terry) is stuck on the streets, her family and friends not recognising her doggy form. She quickly makes a starling discovery though - Lady isn't the first person to be changed into a dog, as she finds after meeting Mitch and Fella, two guys who were once humans, but accidentally incured Terry's anger.

Now Lady has a tough choice, either live out her days as a dog, or try and return to human form.

The novel sparked a bit of controversy when released due to its content. Needless to say it can get a bit crude at times (dog sex anyone?), and is more suited for a mature audience.


This book provides examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Terry, though strangely enough, although having over 20 cans of special brew in a day, doesn't appear to suffer any nasty side affects.
  • Animorphism: Pretty much the whole premise of the book.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror: Sandra considers whether her old puppy from when she was a kid was ever really a dog at all...
  • Baleful Polymorph: Terry can turn people into dogs when he gets angry, but doesn't seem able to change them back.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Lady ends up failing to reconnect with her family but she comes to terms with her transformation, deciding that she'd rather live the exciting life of a dog over being a boring human and goes to live with Fella and Mitch. However, this could easily also be interpreted as a Downer Ending.
  • Blessed with Suck: Terry's power, obviously.
  • Advertisement:
  • Both Sides Have a Point: There's a scene early on in the book where Fella and Mitch try and persaude Sandra whether to try to turn back into a human or not. Fella argues that you are free from worries and responsibilities as a dog, and that your speed, as well as your sense of smell, taste and hearing, are not worth giving up. Mitch on the other hand argues that you can't achieve anything of real substance or influence as a dog, and that Sandra's family will be worried sick about them already and it's selfish of her to stay this way because her mother will think she's dead. Sandra notes that she's tempted to side with both of them.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Fella thinks being a victim of animorphism is this. Lady ends up thinking the same at the end.
  • Disappeared Dad: Sandra's father left to go to America when she was nine, and never saw her again. (Though, in all fairness, he did at least keep in touch.)
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Sandra has her entire world destroyed for...Knocking a can of beer out of the hands of a sexually-abusive hobo who was feeling her up?
  • Groin Attack: Lady bites a guy in a rather delicate area to escape from him.
  • I Choose to Stay: Sandra ends up deciding she prefers being Lady at the end. Admitting she was never really good at being human
  • Implied Love Interest: While they never outright become a couple it's implied Lady has a crush on Fella which he returns.
  • Interspecies Romance: Lady seems to display affection for Terry for a short while.
  • Karmic Transformation: Sandra's transformation into Lady is presented as this.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Terry.
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Sandra has a younger brother and a big sister, and shows many signs of having this problem from her attention whore attitudes to her constant jealousy.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Terry has a screaming fit everytime he turns someone into a dog.
  • Slut-Shaming: Sandra gets this from her best friend, mother and Terry. It is never really Deconstructed, Justified nor it is ever considered that maybe it's Sandra's choice in who she dates and none of their business.
  • Space Jews: Fella equates the struggles of humans turned to dogs to the struggles of gays and transsexuals.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Don't annoy tramps kids...Or you might get transformed into a dog.
  • Super Senses: Sandra is pretty pumped about her new found sense of smell, hearing and tasting.
  • Talking Animal: With quite a bit of work, dogs can talk.
  • The Transmogrifier: Terry the homeless man has the power to transform people into dogs. Unfortunately, he doesn't have the ability to control it to any degree, and it usually activates when he's angry at someone - as is the unfortunate case with the main character. While it's hinted there IS a way to turn back he doesn't know what it is. By the time Sandra meets him, he's accidentally transformed his mother, father, wife and daughter, and all four have died or run away since then, leaving him a friendless alcoholic tramp.
  • Those Two Guys: Mitch and Fella are never seen without each other, and their only role is to present two the two conflicting feelings Sandra has about being a dog, rather than being characters in their own right. Their only actual difference is their attitude to their curse.