Sunday, January 1, 2012

Holiday Reading - Dog Boy

Hmmm...two blog posts for 2011 seems pretty tragic. I just didn't quite get my act together blogwise and who knows it is probably all redundant given Facebook, Twitter etc.

Just finished "Dog Boy" by Eva Hornung...this is a fiction book inspired by the true story of a Russian boy adopted and raised by a pack of dogs. Initially it took me a while to suspend my disbelief but this became a gripping read with some beautiful insights into dog and human behaviour.

The main character, Romochka, develops into what most perceive as a vile human being but ironically it is his semi-canine characteristics that made me feel sympathy for him. When human violence and even kindness is viewed from a not-quite-human perspective it takes on a very different appearance.

"Romochka wished bitterly for this dog, and for true doghood. Were he really a dog, he wouldn't know all their names, and their kid's names. He wouldn't know and remember every word and phrase, and be paralysed by these lives that stretched before and after the station: he would know only their smell, only their aggression and torments; and what they ate." (p137).

Its hard to imagine Romochka ever integrating back into human society. Its a sad book but there are some truly amazing scenes, especially when his pack rises to the occasion to defend him. It reminded me (not that I needed any reminding) how fantastic dogs are.