It was with trepidation that I began reading. With this title and an image of a horse on the front cover, I was expecting a story of horses being decimated to feed dogs. I was therefore relieved to be captivated by the story of a troubled, hardened teenage boy who hated the world and didn't trust anyone, especially emotionally. My bond with the central characters grew as theirs developed for each other. I loved the sentence "He was only barely aware that a crack had opened in the protective shell over his heart." as the boy initially feels the beginning of a relationship with a horse. The reader gets a sense that because of this horse, the boy may permit more relationships to permeate his life.
Despite never having seen harness racing, I felt like I was there amongst all the drama and excitement of the racing as it was experienced by the teenager. The action adds another dimension to the story, especially when there's an illegal scam to be discovered.
This book will appeal to students with a fondness for horses, as well as for those that just love a story that engages their many emotions. It's about connecting with others, taking responsibility, learning to trust and believing in yourself. There will be times of tears, and times of contentment.
Title: Dog Tucker
Author: K. Drinkwater
Publication: March 2021 (originally published 2009, was a Storylines Notable Book in 2010)
Do you have any advisory warnings for this book? The mother dies due to domestic violence and physical abuse is mentioned several times.
Reviewer: Nadine Molloy, Library Assistant, Remarkables Primary School, Queenstown
How are you recommending this book? Highly Recommended
Opening sentence? Devlin tried to ignore the whispered taunts coming from behind him.
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