Book Review : "Dog Boy"
Dog Boy by Eva Hornung
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Holy cats. Or, dogs I should say. What a book. A four year old boy is abandoned in an empty Moscow apartment by his mother and uncle. He wanders out alone for a short time and then he is adopted into a clan of feral dogs who live in the basement of a half-destroyed vacant church. For the next few years they become his family, he does as they do and they are his family. At first he is useless but eventually becomes indispensable thanks to his ability to strategize and to melt in and out of human spaces. The feral clan is fiercely loyal to each other, and together they survive even the harshest winters. I was pulled in completely, and cared fiercely about the pack as I read.
Understand, this is no children's fairy tale. The realities of their violent, brutal lives are told with no mercy. I had to put the book down a couple of times when something bad happened to the dogs or the boy. Eventually, the "dog boy" draws the attention of the militia and also a pair of researchers who run a clinic for children who can be rehabilitated. One really wonders by the end, who the beasts really are, here.
This book made me howl at the end. I wept. The whole thing is searing and engrossing and difficult and beautiful and awful. Like an unexpected vivid memory of home or a sudden grievous wound, I will never forget it, or quite get over it, I think. Wow.
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