Saturday, 6 April 2019

Book Review: Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

A story of a young boy and his two dogs who become the finest hunting team in the valley.

“You can read every day where a dog saved the life of a drowning child, or lay down his life for his master. Some people call this loyalty. I don’t. I may be wrong, but I call it love - the deepest kind of love.”
And the crying continues..... As I made my way through this one, I felt like I wasn’t THAT attached to the characters and that everyone who told me I’d bawl my eyes out was wrong... but y’all were right. I was crying my goddamn heart out by the end!

I’ve never had a dog. I love Barney like he is mine, but boy do I want my own dog... and so when the book opens with our protagonist Billy yearning for some puppers, I felt that on a deep level. He works his butt off and saves up every cent he gets to be able to buy his own dogs, the specific breed of dog he wants, and the moment when he first meets them... my heart!!

And the dogs themselves are so sweet! Old Dan and Little Ann, with their own personalities and traits. Gah, so cute. However, this is the point in the book where I kinda lost interest every now and again - there’s only so much I can read about hunting for raccoons. Descriptions of landscapes and running through the woods just becomes tedious after a while. Sorry! However, there are some parts interspersed throughout that are quite tense and one event in particular really took me by surprise! So it was a mixed bag I guess.

But it all culminates in one of the most heartbreaking endings I’ve ever read. I had sent Matthew a photo of my red, blotchy, tear-streaked face when I finished, and the next day when I was filling him in on what happened, I could feel myself choking on my words, as the tears brimmed in my eyes again. So yeah. This book rips your heart out!

Oh, and the story about the red fern and how it ties into the story is fucking BEAUTIFUL. Some of the most stunning imagery I’ve read in a book.

Teachers who teach this to school-age children - you are goddamn masochists!!

3.5 stars.


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