Jun 30, 2014

When Mr. Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan Review

When Mr. Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan
Release Date: June 10, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; 368 pages
Dylan Mint has Tourette’s. For Dylan, life is a constant battle to keep the bad stuff in – the swearing, the tics, the howling dog that escapes whenever he gets stressed. And, as a sixteen-year-old virgin and pupil at Drumhill Special School, getting stressed is something of an occupational hazard.

But then a routine visit to the hospital changes everything. Overhearing a hushed conversation between the doctor and his mother, Dylan discovers that he's going to die next March.

So he grants himself three parting wishes: three ‘Cool Things To Do Before I Cack It’.

It isn’t a long list, but it is ambitious, and he doesn't have much time. But as Dylan sets out to make his wishes come true, he discovers that nothing – and no-one – is quite as he had previously supposed.

A story about life, death, love, sex and swearing, When Mr Dog Bites will take you on one *#@! of a journey . . .

It's always tricky when you read a book about a character with a medical condition.  One of the struggles I had when I stared reading this book was that I laughed a lot.  And then I would feel guilty about laughing, because I wasn't so sure if it was appropriate for me to be laughing at a teenager with Tourette's.  So then I took a break from reading and Googled the author.  I found out that the author has Tourette's.  And then it became obvious to me that said author is doing something that I think all authors should do.  He's writing what he knows.  While it is clear that the main character Dylan is not the author, for starter's the author's Tourette's developed in his twenties.  It's obvious that some of the emotions come from personal experience.  After figuring out that I am indeed supposed to be laughing, I was able to relax and finish the book.

So our main character Dylan not only has Tourette's but he also finds out that he is going to die in a few months.  He decides to make a list of three things to do before he dies.  Now if I found out that I was going to die, the world better watch it.  Most say that I already live my life to the fullest, but if I found out I only had a couple of months left I would pretty much do anything and everything possible.  But not Dylan.  He limits it to three things.  And two of them are things that aren't even directly related to him, they are for his best friend and his father.  The other is well, to lose his virginity.  He is after all a teenage boy.

After getting over whether this book is intentionally humorous, I started to wonder if this humor was for me. There are a ton of sex jokes and just downright dirty jokes.  I kept reminding myself that Dylan is a teenage boy.  He says the word "willy" way too many times to count.   I seriously groaned every time he said it.  And it made me question whether the stereotype of "all men think about is sex" is indeed true.

Racism is touched on quite a bit.  Mostly because Dylan's best friend is Pakistani.  Even though some people try to deny it, racism is still very well present in the world.  Along with prejudice and how we treat anyone who is different.  There is a scene in this book where Dylan is getting picked on, and it was so hard for me to read.  Especially reading it from his point of view, because he has no clue that he's even being made fun of.  It was really heartbreaking.

But in the end, there is a story about growing up in When Mr. Dog Bites.  And what happens when you have to face reality and the facts are laid out in front of you.  And I must say that I loved the ending.  It was pretty much a perfect way to wrap the story up.  And it made me happy that I didn't give up, and read it to the end.

1 comment:

  1. This book sounds really good! I can't wait to read it!


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