by Kathe Kjoa
My blog has been a bit neglected over the past few days; we went out of town for the weekend. My husband took my daughter with him to attend a sports event, and I sat in the hotel for several peaceful hours with a book and a steaming hot bath. I read most of A Year in the Maine Woods but not quite finished yet, so that one will get featured tomorrow.
Straydog is a novel I read several years back. It features an angry teen who tries to connect to an equally angry (and fearful) dog. Rachel feels like an outcast at school, and treats the world around her with bitter sarcasm. Her two main passions are animals and writing. She volunteers at the local animal shelter, and when a feral collie dog is brought in, Rachel finds herself attracted to its wildness. The shelter staff judge that the collie is too vicious, and will never be adoptable. Rachel is determined to try and tame it. Together with a boy she begins to find friendshp with, they make a plan to slowly gain the dog's confidence and build a cage for it behind the boy's house. During this project, Rachel funnels her experiences into her writing, creating essays from the dog's point of view. But as her work with the collie gets more and more frustrating, she has to re-evaluate her chances of success, and face a tough decision in the end. Straydog is a pretty good story. Full of teen angst and the slow unfolding of Rachel's trust in other people, reaching out for friendship as she tries to enlist others in her efforts to save the dog. In the end Rachel finds that more than anything else, she has tamed her own anger, and come closer to others around her.
Rating: 3/5 ........ 128 pages, 2004
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