What a sad day to end the blogging week. Have you all heard the news about Alan Rickman? Such sad news it is indeed. I’ve been watching films with that man in them since 5th grade. I feel as though I’ve lost a small part of myself. Alan Rickman was a wonderful actor and a great man. He will be remembered, Always.
The rest of this post doesn’t get much happier. I really did not enjoy the book I’m reviewing today. A sad day all around. (Except one thing: It’s my dad’s birthday today!)
I picked this book up at the Library because Goodreads kept recommending it to me. I checked out the ratings and they were phenomenal. Plus I love dogs, so I figured why not read this book? But, regardless of all the places it was cropping up, I had the strangest feeling that I should avoid it. I actually flip flopped the entire time I was at the Library debating if I should check it out or not.
I shouldn’t have.
This is the story of a dog, Wally, but it is the story of much more than a dog. This is the story of Clair – her relationship with her father, her relationship with Wally, and her relationship with the neighbor boy, Danny. Clair finds love in more than one place, but what happens when the boy she never liked but who she is all the sudden crushing on asks her to run away with him? What is he running away from? Is it just to get away from his abusive father, or is Danny running from something much, much worse?
*click image to be redirected to book’s Goodreads page*
I was really thinking I would like this book. However, I found it to be a chore to read and didn’t find much value. I don’t even know where to start with my complaints. There. Are. So. Many.
I guess I’ll start with the characters. Oh my goodness. The characters were so bland. I literally can not tell you a single thing about Clair except that she thinks she a boring, inconsequential, bland character. Which she is. I don’t have a clue what she’s interested in. I don’t know what she likes doing. She complains about her best friend all the time but then praises her at the end of all her complaining. She takes care of her dad (apparently, that’s what she says anyway). She describes in detail how much she resents and dislikes Danny and says that he’s always been that way since they were kids and then the next moment she’s dating him.
Then there’s her dad, and the only thing I can tell you about him is that he thinks he’s cool because he’s in a motorcycle gang but he’s actually not cool at all. Oh, and he can’t cook. That’s literally it. And like, he’s been raising his daughter for years, but he can’t cook for her? I find that very unbelievable. Overall He was super unlikable, versus cute and adorable like the narrator was trying to write him to
Then, finally Danny. Clair makes him out to be this awful and mean bully. She says he’s always been mean to her since she was a little girl. But, then she talks to him once and he’s literally the nicest guy in the entire world. Um, alright-y then.
So anyway, enough about the characters. On with the storyline. But, unfortunately, the storyline isn’t much more developed than the characters. I found most of what was happening boring and uneventful in a way that did not motivate me at all to keep reading. The only reason I actually finished this book was because it was short and the print was big. That’s it. I honestly had no interest in or connection to what actually happened at the end. That’s how little I cared about these characters and their story.
Overall, I found everything mostly unrealistic, especially in the way the topics are handled. Monninger appears to be trying to tell a heartfelt story, but has literally zero knowledge on how basically anything works.
One other aspect that really bothered me was that Clair checks this book out from the Library that a priest wrote on how to train dogs. She reads the entire book, multiple times (to the point of memorization) before she even considers taking Wally into her life. That just seems a bit unrealistic for a teenage girl.
If Monninger wanted to write a manual on how to train dogs, he should have written a manual on how to train dogs.
Also, when they start training Wally, an adult dog who’s been abused, malnourished, kept outside, and never properly trained all his life, he picks up on everything right away. Like, this dog goes from most misbehaved dog ever to perfect angel in about 5 pages. There’s no way that would happen in an adult dog that was faced with so much abuse. And it definitely wouldn’t happen that quickly.
And, as long as I’m complaining about this. A fair amount of time goes by and Clair still has the Library book. Then, she lends the Library book to Danny. It’s a stupid nit picky thing, but I wouldn’t do that with a Library book that you’re responsible for. Plus, it just doesn’t add up. She says she checks it out from the Library but then acts like it’s her book. Clair also says she’d read it multiple times, to the point of memorization, and recites passages word for word. Whatever, I just can’t with this book.
Last thing, I swear. That ending was so stupid. I hated everything about it. Plus, it made, once again, zero logical sense. Monninger just needed to not write this book, in all honesty. It wasn’t worth it.
Okay, this is the last thing, I double swear. There was some pretty blatant sexism in here that is pointed out but then accepted. Like, Clair recognizes on more than one occasional that either her father, Danny, or both are being sexist, and she’s like oh that’s fine; it’s cute. Um, it’s really not and that makes me uncomfortable that teens have another book telling them that sexism is normal and cute.
I’m done now. I’m done complaining. I really needed to get all that off my chest, though. I really wish I hadn’t read this book. It just irritated me, and I got nothing out of the experience.
I absolutely DO NOT recommend this book to anyone. It was mediocre (that’s a compliment), and had so many issues. Do yourself a favor and don’t pick this one up. It’s not worth it. I have no clue how this has a 4.02/5 star rating on Goodreads. Seriously? How?
Well, sorry to end the week on such a sour note. But, I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!
I’ll be back on Sunday with my typical weekly review, which also happens to be my birthday. 24 already? I’m getting so old! How is this happening? What is this linear progression of time and how can I make it stop?