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A dog and his boy

A Dog and His Boy ~ T F Pruden

Following the Bildungsroman tradition of a coming-of-age narrative, the story follows the life of a family of four and their two dogs. Set in the Canadian wilderness of Manitoba, the themes of isolation, parenting and a relationship between man and his best friend are explored. Judging by the style of writing I was too quick to jump to the conclusion of assuming that the book is targeted at young adults, by the second section of the book I was suspicious that it perhaps is not.

Very soon the done-to-death techniques used by amateur writers grew tiresome. Wistful recollection of past memories by characters are used too often, especially in the introductory chapters of the book. While these can be very helpful tools to convey the back story of the protagonists, I don’t believe they do justice to good writing. What I mean is, when characters in a book constantly reminisce about the past in the shower, while reaching for a bar of soap; or smile to themselves on their walk home – flooding their thoughts with memory after memory of a different character; it begins to sound unrealistic. I apologise if not everyone agrees with me, but I find it completely implausible that all the characters are constantly thinking about one another.

I did not intend on dwelling too much on the poor writing techniques, given that the plot and themes are indeed interesting; sadly I couldn’t help it. The book is effective as a quick read and for instructional detail on the characters’ surroundings and the Manitoba wilderness, however I regret to say that the novel fails on far too many accounts and did not keep me engaged.

I have chosen to categorise it as a YA novel regardless of the themes explored, solely based on the writing style.

Note – I was provided with an early electronic copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review