When Mr Dog Bites has been nominated for the Carnegie Award and compared to Mark Haddon's Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, both of these create a level of expectation for this book and does it live up to it?
I think so,
The author has created an engaging hero in Dylan Mint who is battling with Tourettes and trying to be a normal teenager in a school for children with special educational needs. He idealises his father who has suddenly disappeared, has an engaging and loving relationship with his mother who is trying to manage a son with whom the world views at best as strange and at worse as offensive. The relationship between Dylan and his best friend 'the bold Amir' is positive as they battle the careless racism prevalent in their area. Dylan is also starting to become interested in girls and one in particular, the scenes between Dylan & Michelle, especially when he his trying to keep the dog (his Tourettes), from appearing are funny. She doesn't bat an eyelid at his language but accepts him for who he is.
The novel follows a year in Dylan's life as he tries to complete his own particular bucket list, having overheard a conversation between his mother and doctor. He wants to have sex with Michelle, find a new best friend for Amir and see his Dad one last time. Nothing quite goes to plan and Dylan starts to have an understanding of the world especially of his relationship with his Dad.
I really enjoyed this book - laughed, cried and like Curious Incident it gives you an insight into a condition that is little understood and creates little sympathy. Dylan is a great character who will make you laugh and cry.
It has created some controversy for being included in the Carnegie short-list but does deserve its place there. I would say that you need to exercise caution when recommending this book to younger Key Sage 3 students (11/12 year old) but older students would enjoy it.
I received this title for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review