"We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read." - Jules Verne
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Friday, February 1, 2019
FLAWED DOGS: THE NOVEL: THE SHOCKING RAID on WESTMINSTER by Berkeley Breathed
Originally published in 2009.
I am a big fan of Berkeley Breathed and have been for 35+ years. I have multiple volumes of his Bloom County books, I enjoyed his movie Mars Needs Moms so much that I went out and bought it after I had rented it. I love his children's book Pete and Pickles.
This book, however, is a rare misfire.
To begin with, the book assumes that you read an earlier childrens book called Flawed Dogs: The Year End Leftovers at the Piddleton "Last Chance" Dog Pound. This book is like a catalog of dogs that no one will adopt because of their flaws. The dogs from the first book are thrown into the Flawed Dogs: The Novel with little or no introduction - just a pack of dogs with names and skills and oddities that the reader had better remember. No character development, no real chance to get to know any of them. There was a whole dog that I had no idea was even in the book until he was shown in an illustration.
The main character of the book is a dachshund named Sam. Sam loves his human, a girl named Heidy who doesn't like dogs because her parents were killed by dogs in some sort of horrible accident that the book was never quite clear about. Sam is slated to participate in the Westminster dog show, but another dog is so jealous that he mutilates himself and sets Sam up so that it looks like he attacked a human baby. Heidy's uncle shoots Sam. But, Sam doesn't die. Instead, he ends up at the "Last Chance" Pound. That is the first half of the book.
The second half of the book is very rushed and features Sam getting his foot in a badger trap, Sam getting hit by a car, Sam spending three years in a laboratory being mutilated for science and Sam being put into a dog fight by his second human owner to pay off a debt. Sam hatches a big, complicated plot (that was vague except for a gag that I have seen done on cartoons ranging from Donald Duck to Scooby Doo) to get even with the poodle that took him away from Heidy.
This book commits too many "sins" - it is a hurried, gruesome mess.
I do not dispute that all of the atrocities that happen to Sam happen to real dogs every day (except for being framed by a poodle). This book should have been a whole series of books with each book featuring Sam and perhaps a couple of new dogs from the "Last Chance" Pound confronting a new horrible thing that people do to dogs. Not light reading, but made informative and tolerable because they would feature the indomitable dachshund Sam coming to the rescue.
End spoiler alert************
I rate this book 1 star out of 5. If you must read it, it can be found on Amazon.com here: FLAWED DOGS: THE NOVEL: THE SHOCKING RAID on WESTMINSTER by Berkeley Breathed.