CM . . .
. Volume XVII Number 11. . . .November 12, 2010
That Dog Won't Hunt. (Rapid Reads).
Victoria, BC: Raven Books/Orca, 2010.
105 pp., pbk., $9.95.
Grades 12 and up / Ages 17 and up.
Review by Shelbey Krahn.
Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.
The next morning, Bucky ambled after me sort of senile-like. I let him come as far as the creek, then told him to go lay down. He stood there, that sappy golden retriever smile on his face. Not even enough brains to take offense. Then he circled twice and flopped down under a spreading maple.
One of Orca Book's "Rapid Reads" series, That Dog Won't Hunt, by Lou Allin, is written for adults. The ranching, automotive, carpentry, and hunting references, as well as the references to drinking and women, will interest readers who are often overlooked by writers. The first person narrator is clearly a "bad boy," yet the reader both identifies with him and hopes for his success even while yearning for the universe to be just. The suspense is gripping.
The novel is rated Reading Level 2.8. Early on, I noticed words that seemed rather long for RL 2.8, such as "cigarillo," "appreciative glance," "carburetor," "distributor cap," and "handkerchief" in just two pages (pp.4-5). Then the plot grabbed me, and I no longer noticed the length of words.
The narrator, Rick Cooper, is 30 years old when he meets Gladys Ryan, aged 50-60. They travel from California to northern Ontario, where she owns a hunting camp that caters to American hunters. Rick works hard, long days for Gladys, anticipating a big payoff at the end of hunting season.
The dog of the title is an old golden retriever named Bucky who used to go hunting with Gladys' deceased husband. Rick pretends to take Bucky hunting but leaves him to sleep in the shade, thinking "that dog won't hunt."
Like other Orca novels, That Dog Won't Hunt is a very compelling and well-written read. However, it is written for adults and is clearly not part of the "Orca Currents" or "Orca Soundings" series.
For men who find reading challenging, this book is -
Shelbey Krahn is a librarian at Laurentian University's School of Education located in Sudbury, ON.
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