Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Book Review ~ The Dog who Wouldn't Be

Month Four of my quest to read and review 13 "Canadian" dog books brings me to a classic - Farley Mowat's The Dog who Wouldn't Be. Mowat is, of course, one of Canada's most beloved authors, who penned forty-two books. The Dog who Wouldn't Be was his fourth, first published in 1957. The book takes place in the gritty 1930s, when Mowat was a child. It chronicles the adventures Mowat and his dog, Mutt. Let me just say that I have no idea how I avoided reading this book up until this point. It's a great story; it's about dogs; and not only is it Canadian, but it's primarily set in Saskatoon and surrounding areas, where I've lived my whole life.

According to Mowat, Mutt decided that he didn't want to be a dog. Mutt was definitely a character and definitely whippersnapper smart. I think he was also definitely a dog. Some of his feats were amazing but believable - such as scaling a ladder. Others feats would be considered neat conversational starters, but actually pretty commonplace - such as eating cherries and spitting out the pits. Some of the tales are most likely yarns, or at least embellished (a lot). I'm not a fan of tall tales, but I kept reading because the writing style is familiar and engaging; the stories are fun to read; and there's a fair share of history too - although secondary to the story of a boy and his dog, you certainly do get glimpses of the Depression years on the Canadian prairies.

I read the Emblem edition (pictured above) which was published in 2009.


John Mutford said...

Yes, Mowat has often he doesn't let truth get in the way of a good story.

I read this last year to my daughter. I didn't find it to be a terrible book, but not a good read aloud.