Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Dog in the Wood (MG)

The Dog in the Wood. By Monika Schroder. 2009. (November 2009). Boyds Mill Press. 168 pages.

In the distance Fritz heard again the droning of engines.

What a short but incredibly powerful little book this is. Set in Germany in the very last days of the war. It concerns a family in crisis. Fritz's grandfather is a Nazi--even though the cause may be lost, is already lost according to everyone else in the village--his grandfather clings to his beloved cause until he doesn't. One moment he's all, I'll fight to the bitter end to protect my home, my family, my land, and the next moment he's hanging--yes, hanging--alongside his wife. Afraid that the Russians will do even worse if he doesn't go this way. What's a young boy, just ten or so, to do when life as he knows it suddenly isn't. What does the Russian arrival mean for him? For his mom and older sister? Can he find a way to be strong, to make it? Is what his mother say true, is the worst really over? Or is there more horror yet to come? This one is a coming-of-age story that is ugly at times but also very compelling.

The Dog in the Wood is a harsh novel. By harsh I mean realistic. It doesn't sugarcoat the effect of war. On women. On children. On everyone. It's a very human novel as well. One of those books where you see the very human side of war, of what it does to real people (though these people are fictional), to every day people like you and me. It's a haunting story all the more so because you know its based in truth.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Melissa 10:54 AM  

Wow..seems like a really good heartbreaking story. Thanks for putting this on my radar.


Debi 1:40 PM  

Wow. This one sounds mighty powerful. Would definitely like to read this one. Thanks, Becky!

proseandkahn 3:27 PM  

I'll add the third, "Wow!" It's good to hear. I chose it to review at my last book evaluation meeting.


Shirley 1:27 PM  

This is one I want to read. It sounds like a different sort of war story.

Jenners 8:38 PM  

This does sound brutal ... but it should be because war is brutal.

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

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