Dec 29, 2018

Sheep

by Valerie Hobbs

Young border collie leaves his farm when sudden hard times hit the farmer and his wife. Spends the rest of the book looking for a good home, in particular one where he can herd sheep again, knowing that is his life's purpose. Has a short stint in a pet shop, then with a spoiled child who treats him like a toy. He runs off, meets up with some tramps and later an odd character that travels with a bunch of goats pulling a caravan. Gets caught on the street and put in the pound, where a new owner finds him- a cruel circus man who makes him learn tricks by beating him. All the circus animals are miserable; the border collie finally strikes out in a confusing scene involving an elephant, but a female dog he's become enamored of in the circus refuses to leave with him. Wandering again, he finally takes up with a lonely boy in an orphanage.

I might have liked this book. The dog knew a bit too much to be a credible animal character, while being woefully ignorant of other things that affected him closely. I could have overlooked that, though. The strange part was how closely certain stages of this book echoed other stories I know- which really got annoying to be honest. The tramps were very much like Lennie and George in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. The orphanage scenes reminded me strongly of They Cage the Animals at Night. The Goat Man and the circus made me think of other books too- Hurry Home Candy is one. The character of the dog was nice (he went through a whole slew of names as he met different people) but I started rolling my eyes at easily recognized tropes and skimming through the chapters.

I read this one sitting in a thrift store, waiting for my teenager to look at clothes. I nearly finished the book- enough to know I didn't really want to bring it home.

Abandoned                 144 pages, 2009

More opinions: ExUrbanis anyone else?

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