Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Book Review: When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan

Someday I’ll read a book set in Scotland and be thrilled by it.
I don't like this cover.

Dylan Mint has Tourette’s. For Dylan, life is a constant battle to keep the bad stuff in – the swearing, the tics, the howling dog that escapes whenever he gets stressed. And, as a sixteen-year-old virgin and pupil at Drumhill Special School, getting stressed is something of an occupational hazard.

But then a routine visit to the hospital changes everything. Overhearing a hushed conversation between the doctor and his mother, Dylan discovers that he's going to die next March.

So he grants himself three parting wishes: three ‘Cool Things To Do Before I Cack It’.

It isn’t a long list, but it is ambitious, and he doesn't have much time. But as Dylan sets out to make his wishes come true, he discovers that nothing – and no-one – is quite as he had previously supposed.

A story about life, death, love, sex and swearing, When Mr Dog Bites will take you on one *#@! of a journey . . .
I do like this one.

I really want to like this book, it set in Glasgow, it has swearing in it and kids with learning disability are the main characters. Actually the last part might be where my discomfort starts. To start off I don’t know anyone or have even met anyone with Tourette’s but I do know something about it. For instance, it doesn’t affect your intelligence. Dylan does not come across as having the normal mental level for a 16 year old. He comes off more as being 12, 14 at the max. 

I suppose you blamed the fact that he babied by his mother, other stuff, but the fact is there must be something else going on with Dylan that is never explained. I just feel that it is a poor representation of Tourette’s in that respect which is slightly disappointing. 

Plot wise every twist is foreseeable. Not their exact explanations, but barely into the book I basically knew the big plot points.  So you just waiting for Dylan to realise or for his mum to stop being such dick and tell him. Also the thing the main plot centres around is very unrealistic and I can’t say how because that would be a major spoiler but my sib agreed with me when I discussed it with her. 

The characters ain’t that likable, sure they have the sympathy vote but that doesn’t work on me. Most of the time they annoy me; Dylan’s mum especially. It was interesting to have a book that featured people with learning Disorders and that. Normally, people with any form of Disability don’t star in books or other media. I can actually count on one hand the books I’ve read that feature people with my own disorders (Dyslexic, Asperger’s/Selective Mutism if you’re wondering).  I did enjoy that about this book. 

The book is told in first person by Dylan. Dylan has odd way of talking as in he speaks in Cockney Rhyming slang. I think it takes a while to get into because of this, but you do eventually get use to it.

Overall, I gave this book 3.5 out of 5 stars for NEDs. It's not the best plot, but other things make up for it. It was sort of interesting to read.

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