Thursday, September 17, 2009

Notes from the Dog by Gary Paulsen

The things I didn’t like about this book mostly have to do with notes implausibilities.  I don’t really buy that a graduate student in her early 20’s would spend her money (if she had it) to pay a 14-year-old to spend the summer making a garden in his own backyard  (I have a 23 year old, so I do have some experience in this area).  I also don’t buy that someone who says about himself, “It’s not that I don’t like people, but they make me feel uncomfortable.  I feel like an alien dropped onto a strange planet and that I always have to be on the lookout for clues and cues on how to act and what to say…” would have as many different types of friends as Finn describes himself as having: Carl, who’s his best friend; Jamie, who’s his oldest friend; Christopher, his fun friend; and finally, Matthew, his only true friend.  Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are the things that I did like about the book.  It’s pretty funny, especially when Finn uses all of the fertilizer on his back yard because, if a little bit is good, a lot is better, and when he transplants poison ivy into the yard from the woods.  I like the parts about Dylan, the dog. “Dylan sat up as she got closer and looked at her with that teeth-baring border collie grin that scares people who don’t know that dogs can smile.”  And, when Finn starts getting anonymous notes, delivered by Dylan, “He pushed at my hand with his nose to get me to take the piece of paper from him and wiggled his whole body in excitement, as if he know what the words said.  Dylan’s a border collie, so the whole note thing is not as out-of-the-realm-of-possibility as it first sounds.”  The book is a good read about a teen dealing with death and mortality for the first time.  Review by Stacy Church

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