20 June 2011

A Dog's Way Home by Bobbie Pyron

Recently I was moved by some strange force to join twitter. I have no idea how it works but I have fun with it. One day I commented (oops, tweeted?) to some other tweeter that I liked her profile picture. She informed me it was the cover of her book 'A Dog's Way Home'. My curiosity was sparked and I immediately headed over to my local library's virtual catalogue to see if they had the book. Turns out they did and it was currently checked out and there was a waiting list of people wanting to read it. Now I just had to see what the fuss was all about so I added my name to the list. Of course it came in at the worst possible time - I had a list of reading commitments a mile long. How was I going to fit this in? While I waited for my kids to pick their books at the library, I flipped open to the first page. That was it! The only time I closed the book was to drive home. Otherwise it was a 'one sitting' read.

Here's the link to Shelfari if you want all the ins and outs of the plot etc.

To begin with, look at that cover. Is it any wonder I was interested? It's like Tam, the Shelti, is saying "Come on, read it. I promise it will be worth it." And Tam keeps his promise.

The chapters in the book alternate narrators between Abby, Tam's girl, and Tam, Abby's Shelti. It can't be easy to write from a dog's point of view. I have read other novels where, in trying to accomplish this, the author makes the dog human which totally defeats the purpose. Ms Pyron manages to avoid this trap masterfully. The reader is able to follow Tam's adventures and gain empathy for his plight but always he is true to his doggy self. Not that I am privy to what a dog might feel or think, but Tam's motivation is all wrapped up in instinct rather than logic which just feels right for a dog.

Abby is a strong willed, stubborn little girl. She has a well of strength that she draws from when she is afraid or confused or unsure of herself. She is also sweet and naughty (don't you just love that word?) and exactly what you would expect a child to be. I could picture myself reading this book to my kids when they were young. They would have adored Abby! It's always a treat to find a book that parents would enjoy as much as kids.

The only negative I found in reading 'A Dog's Way Home' is that there were characters I was drawn to who disappeared from the story too quickly and completely. I'm not sure there is any way around this. Obviously when a character's contact with Abby and/or Tam was done with, they disappeared from the book. It has to be - just as people I no longer have contact with are no longer part of my life story. It was just sad to lose them.

All in all a fabulous book. And the fabulous author of this book has generously agreed to an interview. So check back for that in a couple of days. I have a feeling she might even agree to a giveaway.


  1. It does have lovely cover art. Giving voice to an animal seems fraught with challenges, I really liked the way Michelle Paver dealt with it in her Wolf Brother books, Wolf always remained very much a wolf and not a human personification of a wild animal.

  2. How fun to find a book like that on twitter :D I am glad you did and liked it

  3. Hey, I met this author in line at a signing. She was very nice and gave me a card about her book. One of these days I'll get to it. I'm more interested now that you say the dog acted like...well, a dog. I read Dogsbody recently and that's one of the main reasons I liked it so much. Great Review.


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