Book Review: Dog Sense by Sneed B. Collard III

Being a teen or pre-teen is hard enough without throwing into the mix moving to an entirely new and boring  city, coping with having  lost a father due to his having  deserted his family, being bullied at school, having superior math skills but finding English to be a challenge,  summoning the courage to speak to a girl that you have a crush on and various other challenges that life has put in your path.

From the Publisher:

Montana is a long way from California. Thirteen-year-old Guy is trying to make the best of a difficult situation. He and his mother have moved in with his grandfather after his father’s “unannounced departure.” Back home, Guy skateboarded, surfed, and played video games with his friends. Here the kids only seem to talk about cars, fishing, and hunting.

Life at Big Sky Middle School is also a disappointment. Guy is bored in math class and over his head in English. He quickly becomes a target for Brad Mullen, class bully. But at least Guy has his beloved Border collie, Streak, and eventually he makes a friend, classmate Luke Grant. Soon Guy and Luke hatch a plan to train Streak to compete against Brad Mullen and his dog at the town’s Frisbee catching competition. But the rivalry between Guy and Brad escalates until an impulsive wager pits the boys head to head and places Streak in jeopardy.

Veteran author Sneed Collard offers young readers an affecting, realistic portrait of an adolescent boy who must learn to cope with conflicts and challenges in an unfamiliar environment and to accept changes in his life that are beyond his control.

I don’t know if it is because I am a woman, but when I finished this book  (and finding that it did not hold my interest well I found it took me longer to finish reading Dog Sense than most of the books that I review),I felt rather ho-hum.

I did like the author’s direct and conversational style, but I believe I would have enjoyed this book more had there been more of a reference to DOGS. For me, the title Dog Sense led me to believe the dogs in the book would play a larger role. I felt their appearance in the book was rather weak. I would have enjoyed reading less about the bullying of Guy by Brad, and would have enjoyed reading MORE about the impact their respective dogs had on their life.

This book didn’t tug at my heart, grab my attention or make me think, and to me those are all requisites of a “good read.”

Dog Sense will appeal to boys ages 8-12, beyond that?  It is doubtful.  Will  girls relate to Dog Sense?  Also doubtful. As a pre-teen and teen my family moved quite a bit and my family was also broken. Did having lived those experiences allow Dog Sense to touch a place deep within me? No.

Would I have liked much more of a story that put more emphasis on the DOGS of Dog Sense? Absolutely.

Put on your “must read” list?  If you are a boy ages 8-12 maybe,  anyone else? A resounding. NO.

  • Hardcover: $14.95
  • ISBN: 978-1-56145-351-1