A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World

Book - 2019
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The world used to be crowded before all the people went away, but Gris and his parents were never lonely on their remote island. They had each other and their dogs. Then the thief came. There may be no laws left, but if someone steals your dog, you can expect someone to come after you, because what's the point of love if you're not loyal.
Publisher: New York, NY : Orbit, 2019.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780316449458
0316449458
Characteristics: 365 pages : illustration ; 22 cm

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alburke47 May 17, 2019

The world has ended, not with a bang, but more of a whimper. There were no meteors, no alien invasions, no zombie apocalypse. Instead, people just stopped reproducing. No more babies = no more humans. Of course, if that were 100% true, this would be a very short book. A minute percentage continued to conceive, and lived on in the fringes of the world, where they became known as Outliers.
Griz is one such Outlier. A teenager who lives on a remote island with his family, about 100 or so years after the last of the infertile humans (the Baby Busters) died. Life is hard as they struggle to survive with just each other for company. Griz’s younger sister died at an early age, and his mother suffered severe brain trauma There is another family on a nearby island, but we hear little of them and they don’t factor into the tale. Anyway, one day a trader arrives at their island, and charms the family, although Griz has his suspicions. When our hero discovers his family have been drugged and his dog Jess stolen, Griz leaves his drugged family and chases after the thief, setting him on an adventure that will blow his young mind
This book is all about Griz. Our hero is not like those irksome teens we see on TV or prowling out streets. He is smart, well-read, resourceful and brave, although he’s also impulsive and tends to let his fears distract him. But you will root for him all the way through, even when he makes some bonehead mistakes (he is a teenager). Griz tells the story, writing of his journey to a long-dead kid in a photograph he found in a house. His perception of the world, enhanced somewhat by his love of books, is amazing, and his little asides about how he doesn’t understand the likes of crowds and other things we take for granted are impressive. The writing style is that of an erudite teenager with no real schooling or opportunity to hone his schools, but it’s entertaining throughout, and I have a thing for unique writing styles.
Also along for the ride is Griz’s other dog, Jip, who is a character in his own right. The little terrier is brave and fearless, and provides a staunch companion. Jip often provides moments of wisdom for when Griz is struggling to make the right choice, or about to make a bad one.
On the road Griz meets a French woman, who he calls John Dark (get it?), and it can be quite comical watching the two of them try to communicate through mime and an English-French dictionary, and he often makes reference to the fact that he can’t actually talk to the first person he met in the big empty world. Her motivations are always viewed with doubt, but she is a compelling character.
The final major character is Brand, the trader who sparks the events of the book. Brand has a silver tongue, a glimmer man of sorts, and often endeavours to prey on Griz and his inexperience of people. But he also doesn’t seem to be a killer, sparing Griz on occasion, despite threatening him often. Their paths don’t cross that often, but they are memorable confrontations.
There is one more character, and even though it never utters a line, it dominates the book, and that is the big empty world. Griz’s journey takes him across the north of England, and the decay of once great towns and cities is apparent. Much of what Griz experiences he knows only from books, and he has to recognise what he sees with his mind’s eye. Nature had reclaimed the world, and many species of animal have found their way back into the British countryside, making adding peril to our hero’s journey.
To sum up, this was a compelling read and I found I didn’t want to put the book down, from the introduction to the jaw-dropping twists down the road. If you read my reviews, you’ll know I considered The Gutter Prayer to be potentially my favourite book of 2019. It’s just been knocked off the top spot.

6 stars out of 5

r
Reads_A_Lot
May 09, 2019

“If you steal my dog, you can at least expect me to come after you. Because if we aren’t loyal to the things we love, what’s the point?” Being a dog lover, this quote from inside the book jacket immediately made me want to read this post-apocalyptic adventure. Griz lives on a small secluded island with his parents and 2 siblings. The majority of humans and animals are no longer able to reproduce so the human race is close to extinction. When a stranger comes to their island and steals one of Griz’s dogs, he and his other dog jump in a boat without thinking and go after the thief to get his dog back. This book is about his adventure tracking the thief and seeing what has become of the world. As he travels we are shown the contrast of how things were before and after the event they call the “gelding.” He only comes across a couple of other people but they are pivotal characters. I enjoyed this story about a boy’s brave quest, facing unknown dangers to rescue his beloved dog. There’s an epic twist towards the end that the author has asked readers to keep secret, but it made the book even better.

ArapahoeAnnaL May 07, 2019

Provides an amazing perspective on our world today, as the narrator marvels at traces he finds on his travels of the 21st and earlier centuries. I loved this post-apocalyptic adventure story.

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