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Dog boy by Eva Hornung
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Dog boy (2009)

by Eva Hornung

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2133354,782 (3.95)28
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This was a very uncomfortable book to read. It is written from the point of view of a small child who is abandoned by all of the adults and end up living with a small pack of dogs. The language is easy, the story compelling and interesting at all stages.
If you want a book that get you out from your comfort zone without too much effort this is the book for you. ( )
  jessicariddoch | Jun 25, 2013 |
Winner of the 2010 Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award, Dog Boy is a marvel of experience and of emotion. Four-year-old Romochka is abandoned in Moscow at the beginning of winter. Hungry and cold, he follows a feral dog to her lair – and so starts Romochka’s life as a dog. The premise sounds preposterous, but Hornung makes it work. Every time I start thinking that it couldn’t possibly have been as good as I remember, I read my notes – and I believe again.

I can’t understand why this book didn’t win more awards. Hornung has previously published novels as Eva Sallis – she is one author I will be reading more of.

Shannon over at Giraffe Days has written an articulate, passionate review . Sue at Whispering Gums beat us all to it with her review in 2010. All I can add to these two is: READ THIS.

Warnings: a half-dozen uses of that four letter word, and a brief torture scene.

Read this if: you’re breathing. 5+ stars ( )
  ParadisePorch | May 10, 2013 |
Romochka, a four-year-old boy abandoned and starving, ventures out of a deserted apartment building into the freezing streets of Moscow with his missing mother’s words ringing in his ears. Don’t go near people. Don’t talk to strangers. Wandering the streets, the boy becomes lost and desperate. The only being he dares to approach is a feral dog and he follows her back to a den, lies down with her four pups, suckles and survives. And so this small boy crosses an unspeakable boundary, living with feral dogs in the basement of a tumble-down church on the outskirts of a modern city. He is given shelter, food and affection and he learns to survive as a dog and to become a member of the pack.

Eventually another human baby joins the pack as his brother. He is eventually caught and put into an institution for study. Romochka finds him, but is devastated when his brother dies. More tragedy strikes when the pack is killed and Romockka himself is captured.

Really interesting book. Quite technical towards the end when human/animal behavior is examined in the institution. For a more advanced reader. Would be good to pair with Life of Pi. ( )
  dalzan | Apr 21, 2013 |
This book drew a few strong reactions, which, considering the basic survival theme, is not really surprising. The fact that it was a small child who found himself in such circumstances only heightened our groups distaste, so much so that a few could not even read on.

But for those who did, it was an emotional, yet unforgettable read. Denise found the writing excellent, tense and very edgy. Most found it amazingly believable, which was unexpected. We felt that this age old story of a boy being raised by dogs (or wild animals of some kind) belongs more in the fantasy or fairytale category, with references being made back to Mogali of Jungle Book and as far back as Ancient Rome from the poet Publius Ovidius, which is covered in the David Malouf book An Imagainary Life. But this very contemporary story dwells in the here and now of Moscow, which a few of our members have visited. Tera thought the descriptions of Moscow very well done. She even brought us photos she had taken of the city’s subways and trains stations that feature so prominently in the book. There is of course a hefty handful of true life examples of feral children, so our suspended believe need not be stretched too far.

Viti found the treatment of the poorer classes and general conditions disturbing and a good deal of our discussion centred on this. The winters in this part of the world are harsh and we reflected on how difficult it would be for the homeless and abandoned.

There were a few points that did not sit right with some of us. We found it out of character for Romochka to kill his uncle and the torture scene was hard to bear. Did children really behave in this cruel manner? Again Tera had had first hand experience with the street orphans of Moscow and she confirmed that the survival instinct is extremely strong and that she did not find this event out of her realm of believe.

So if you are not prone to squeamish reactions and like a good, gutsy human hardship tale, Dog Boy could be a good choice over these winter months. It will certainly make you appreciate a warm and snug reading corner. ( )
  DaptoLibrary | Aug 23, 2012 |
THis book is really good. its worth reading
  katrinawall | Jun 28, 2012 |
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The first night was the worst.
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We are the only dish on the table.
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A four-year-old boy named Romochka is abandoned by his mother and uncle and left to fend for himself on the streets of Moscow, with uncounted millions of homeless children and adults. He follows a stray dog to its home in a deserted church celler. There he joins Mamochka, the mother of the pack, and six other dogs and slowly he forgets his human attributes to survive two fiercely cold winters. Romochka attracts the attention of local police, street urchins, and finally, scientists.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1921520426, 1921656379

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