Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dog Boy by Eva Hornung

About the book: Two million children roam the streets in late twentieth-century Moscow. A four-year-old boy named Romochka, abandoned by his mother and uncle, is left to fend for himself. Curious, he follows a stray dog to its home in an abandoned church cellar on the city's outskirts. Romochka makes himself at home with Mamochka, the mother of the pack, and six other dogs as he slowly abandons his human attributes to survive two fiercely cold winters. Able to pass as either boy or dog, Romochka develops his own moral code. As the pack starts to prey on people for food with Romochka's help, he attracts the attention of local police and scientists. His future, and the pack's, will depend on his ability to remain free, but the outside world begins to close in on him as the novel reaches its gripping conclusion.

In this taut and emotionally convincing narrative, Eva Hornung explores universal themes of the human condition: the importance of home, what it means to belong to a family, the consequences of exclusion, and what our animal nature can teach us about survival.

First line: The first night was the worst.

My thoughts: I found this book to be emotionally brutal. It was fascinating and compelling but not what I would consider enjoyable. The whole thing, especially the ending will stay with me for a long time as I come away from it heartsick. Oh, my. The first part of the book where Ramochka learns to within the pack was quite interesting. The author's research into pack behavior had to have been extensive. When people start to interfere you start to see the contrast between what the pack does for survival and human behavior. Realistic and gritty, it is well written. Dog Boy won the Prime Ministers Award 2010 Fiction category in Australia.

Rating: A

Quote: The mean one snorted. 'Feral kids are worse than rabid dogs. Worse than adults too, and they reckon there's millions. Never solve anything unless we get rid of them. Put it down, I say.'
(The 'it' in the above quote is refering to the child, Romochka.)

1 comment:

Teddyree said...

OMG Sharon, first I've heard of this book but it's going straight on my wishlist thanks to your heartfelt review. Thanks for sharing!