The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

Does the Dog Die? A Brief Review of The Hamilton Case, by Michelle de Kretser – and a Discourse on Blogging

This book made me confront what I’m dealing with in writing this blog. Specifically, my “hook” is that I do book reviews for animal lovers. Most people end up here for other reasons, but I try to be consistent. There are about 84 billion blogs out there — I always wanted mine to have a theme, it does, and I’m sticking with it.

So what do I really mean by “book reviews for animal lovers”? I try to review books on two levels: is it good, and would it upset someone who doesn’t like to read about violence to animals or upsetting story arcs involving animals? Now, one of the reasons I chose that theme is because I don’t like those books myself. And I read a lot, at least one book a week, often two, so I’m a good person to screen those books out for others.

But — and this is really important in my review of The Hamilton Case — I have to repeat: I am disturbed by violence to animals and upsetting story arcs involving animals. Usually, I can mentally sift through disturbing treatment of animals in a book and address the book’s overall quality. In this case, I cannot.

Yes, I recognize that most people would like this book for the writing, the setting, the character development, the twists, etc., etc. There are even some beautiful passages incorporating appreciation of animals. And I agree with the critics who consider the book realistic.

But I didn’t like it. In fact, I intensely disliked it. Not only is it COMPLETELY UNSAFE for animal lovers, but there are also a couple of upsetting images that I can’t get out of my head and would love to. I couldn’t get past that and read the book on another level. So it probably is a good book, but I can’t recommend it.

As is often the case with such books, the people don’t fare so well, either. But, as I noted, the point of this blog is the treatment of animals in the book. And The Hamilton Case fails that test severely.


May 23, 2009 - Posted by | animals, Book Reviews | , , , ,

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