mr dog

The Ben Illis Agency (The Literary Men In Black)

The Ben Illis Agency (The Literary Men In Black)

I recently got this YA novel, When Mr Dog Bites from a friend who is representing it through his Literary Agency, the BIA. It’s not the usual kind of book I’d read (not being supernatural or leaning towards the other slant my reading takes – artsy fartsy, I suppose), but I have been trying to branch out a bit more of late.  What it did make me think more about was of that mysterious attribute all us aspiring authors wonder about, whether its there, whether we’ve got it sufficiently and that we’re all hoping we’ve nailed. Yep, you’ve got it: voice.

This is what this book has through and through – a unique and distinctive voice. Written by Brian Conaghan who gets inside the head of the MC, Dylan Mint, a sixteen year old who has Tourettes. We are side by side Dylan as he deals with bullying, hanging out with his ‘best bud’ Amir and coming to terms with his broken home-life.  It is his heart-breaking naivety that causes Dylan to misunderstand events around him and leads him to believe he is going to die. In Dylan Mint style he treats this information with stoicism and comes up with a list of ‘things to do before I cack it’. These consist of: have sex, get a new friend for ‘best bud’ and get dad home. Once again his tender naivety creates humour as he tries to tackle the list and by the end of the novel gradually learns that not everything is as it seems.

A light-hearted, up-lifting read 🙂