Monday 3 October 2016

The Dog Who Dared To Dream by Sun-Mi Hwang @AbacusBooks

This is the story of a dog named Scraggly.  
Born an outsider because of her distinctive appearance, she spends most of her days in the sun-filled yard of her owner's house. 
Scraggly has dreams and aspirations just like the rest of us. But each winter, dark clouds descend and 
Scraggly is faced with challenges that she must overcome. Through the clouds and even beyond the gates of her owner's yard lies the possibility of friendship, motherhood and happiness - they are for the taking if 
Scraggly can just hold on to them, bring them home and build the life she so desperately desires.
The Dog Who Dared to Dream is a wise tale of the relationship between dog and man, as well as a celebration of a life lived with courage. 
Translated into English for the first time, it is a classic from Sun-mi Hwang, an international bestselling author.

The Dog Who Dared To Dream by Sun-Mi Hwang was published by Abacus Books in paperback on 7 July 2016. The book is illustrated by renowned Japanese artist, Nomoco.

This little book arrived randomly through my letter box a few months ago. I'd not heard of it, or the author before. I really wasn't sure what to expect. I had a look online for the author and found that she'd received a lot of praise for her previous novel, The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly, although, once again, I'd not heard of that one.

It would be easy to assume that The Dog Who Dared To Dream is aimed at children, or young adults, but it isn't. This is a beautifully written, very short novel that is written for adults, although children aged 12 and upwards would enjoy it too.

There are just over 160 pages in this book. It should have taken me a few hours to read, but instead I've been reading this, on and off for a few weeks now. Picking it up, reading a few pages at a time and then going away to think about it .... and to try to clear the lump in my throat.

There are lots of books on the market that feature lovely fluffy dogs. All a bit sweet and sickly for me really, The Dog Who Dared To Dream is not cute, it is not sweet or sickly. It's really quite hard hitting. I had a lump in my throat many times.

I think the book is supposed to be inspirational. I guess it is, as Scraggly; the dog who did dare to dream is a fighter, but my goodness it's pretty raw too.

Scraggly is the scruffiest dog in the litter, and gradually, her more attractive and graceful siblings are taken away, and then one day, her mother disappears too. Her owners, Grandma and Grandpa Screecher are poor people and they can't afford to keep so many dogs, they breed the dogs, to get some money, that's their way of life. Scraggly has to get over her pain. She's constantly goaded by the old cat next door, and absolutely disgusted when the Screechers bring home a rooster hen one day. When she gives birth to her own litter of puppies, it seems as though her family is complete once more ... until the day the man arrives and she finds herself alone again.

The Dog Who Dared to Dream is a story about a dog, but it's a story about relationships and hardship and sorrow and pain. There's not a lot of joy for Scraggly, or for her owners. The story is a tear-jerker, but it's also a cleverly imagined tale with meaning. The style and the premise is probably not for everyone, and to be honest, I really didn't think it would be my kind of thing. I was wrong. I really enjoyed it. It made me sad, but I did enjoy it.

My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy of The Dog Who Dared to Dream for review.

Sun-mi Hwang is a beloved writer in South Korea, where she has won many awards and published more than forty books enjoyed by adults and children alike.

She lives in Seoul, South Korea.


1 comment:

  1. I have been putting off reading this one, because I know it will bring a lump to my throat....