By Adventures in Obsessive Reading
A Dog’s Life: The Autobiography of a Stray
Author: Ann M. Martin
Page Count: 182
Keywords: Dogs, Animal Abuse, Adventure, Family, Love
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Younger Readers: This is a children’s book. Be prepared for questions from younger children but should be appropriate for most.
My boss actually loaned me this book to read. I read children’s books both because I enjoy them and like being able to have recommendations for my students. Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love my dog. So this was a no brainer for me.
Overall this was an enjoyable read as we follow Squirrel from birth to old age, from hardship to happiness. It truly is written like an autobiography but from the point of view of a dog. There are certainly cute moments but it also has some horribly sad moments that made me tear up a bit. These sad moments added to the reality of a stray’s life though and made me enjoy the book even more.
I would actually recommend this to young children. Reading this to or with a younger child would be a great way to teach kindness towards animals. Squirrel does experience abuse and reacts to it. The confusion and fear that is described from the perspective of the dog is a great tool to teach children about their actions towards animals.
Overall, yes I recommend this one. It would make a great gift for an animal lover.
Some children are more sensitive than others. In case you’re wondering if your child can handle the sad moments I listed some of the major ones below for your consideration:
-A fox named Mine is shot, not described in detail
-It alludes to that Squirrel and Bone’s mother dies
-Bone and Squirrel are thrown from a vehicle
-There is a dog fight
*The book is recommended for 8 and up. I think the difficult points mentioned are important lessons to learn and are not graphic enough to make me say a child should not read it. Just be prepared to offer guidance to younger ones.
Author: Amina Akhtar
Page Count: 268
Format Read: BOTM Hardcover
Keywords: Fashion, Competition, Obsession
Kid Appropriate: Nope
I’ve seen plenty of reviews claiming that this is a thriller and others saying that it is clearly not a thriller, but rather a well-done comedy. Honestly, I don’t care which it was meant to be this book was a flop for me.
I originally chose this for my September Book of the Month box because I am drawn to unreliable narrators as we see in Caroline Kepnes’ You. That book was an absolute masterpiece in terms of drawing you into the mind of someone unstable and feeling both repulsed and intrigued by them. Anya is certainly unreliable but she is also incredibly two dimensional and uninteresting. This is a first-person narration and beyond Anya being mentally unstable and liking to wear black clothes at all times I still don’t really know much about her or care to learn more. To make this even worse, her actions and impulses became too repetitive to be interesting.
The first 50 pages were the best part of the story with a degree of intrigue and some lines that made me smirk while I was reading. This is where you are introduced to the main cast that will be killed off as well as the fashion industry. After this point, the story drags on longer than it needs to with the death toll rising beyond any realistic number that would avoid a greater investigation than the barely existent one we witness in Akhtar’s book.
Catty characters with no development and a ludicrous plot make up the meat of this tale that had a great concept but poor execution.