the Little Red Reviewer

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher

Posted on: March 1, 2020

So,  I’ll give you the same “spoilers” that I gave my friends in my book club:

 

This book is really, really, good.  Like, might be one of my favorite books that I read this year kind of good.

 

There is a really cool character named John.

 

Also, Maps!  There is a map in the book!  But it’s no good anymore, because the seas have risen just enough to move the shoreline.  So where the map says there is a harbor?  The harbor doesn’t look like that anymore!

 

Omg, so much cool stuff in this book!!!

 

Ok,  other very, very minor spoilers ahead.

 

Have you read A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World?  If you leave spoilers in the comments I will delete your comment and then say very mean things about you.

 

For those you who read this last year, and have been wondering what the hell took me so long, you were right! This book is awesome!  I’m sorry it took me so long.

 

Ready?  Let’s go.

It’s seems to be a year for me to read post apocalyptic stuff?  Yeah, I didn’t plan that either. A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World takes place one or two generations after what people called “the gelding”.  We don’t know what caused it, within a generation or two, humanity was near extinction. Hardly anyone could have kids. Some people think it was caused by pollution, some people think it was a bio-weapon,  some people think it was from something sprayed in the air. (Huh, maybe Mother Nature is an introvert, and she finally had enough of this loud AFparty that she couldn’t ghost?)

 

A line from the beginning of the book:

 

In my whole life, I haven’t met enough people to make up two teams for a game of football. The world is that empty

 

This is a post- apocalyptic world, but  the sun is still shining, you can still fish and hunt and do some basic farming,  many places are still safe, and although the weather is warmer, it is still bearable.   What this is, is a silent world. A world that no longer has a need for humans. All that silence? It was kinda refreshing, actually.

(what would a silent world be like?  Think about that for a minute. I guess it is like the movie A Quiet Place, but no monsters?  In the real world, you’d die of an infection, or a heart attack, or a diabetic coma or something like that. Also, does humans = noise? Like, is humanity capable of being fucking quiet for 10 damn minutes?)

 

Griz’s family lives on an island, where they farm and fish  and occasionally trade with another family that lives about 10 miles away on a different island.   One day, a stranger comes to trade. Brand has red hair and blue eyes, and it’s funny that the kids in the family can’t stop staring at this guy, Brand, because they’ve never seen someone with blue eyes!   In fact, these kids have never seen a person who isn’t their immediate family, or the family on the other island. The idea of a new person is enthralling. So why does Griz’s dad keep their eldest out of sight?

 

Brand does the one thing sure to piss everyone off:  He steals Griz’s dog Jess.

 

Things you should know about what’s going on:   It wasn’t just humans who were affected by the gelding.  Horses, dogs, it seems like all mammals were. Any animal (or person!)  who can have babies is worth their weight in gold. Sometimes guarded, sometimes traded, sometimes stolen.

 

Jess is a female.

 

And Griz will do anything to get her back. Including chase Brand all over the ocean and half way across a continent, making rash decisions the whole way.    Griz is gloriously stupid sometimes. The way a teenager always is. (sorry teens. Yes, i am insulting you. I was a stupid teen once too. But now, I am super curious – what do teenagers think of this book?  What do parents of teenagers think of this book?)

 

Did you read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road?  The big thing that I remember most about that book was the sparseness of how the dialog was written.  In sections with dialog, there was no punctuation, there was no excess anything. No quotation marks, hardly any commas, only what was absolutely necessary.  At the time that I was reading it, and I still remember this, I remember thinking to myself “these characters are too hungry for punctuation, that is calories they don’t have”.

 

The way A Boy and His Dog is written, reminded me a little of that sparseness. The sparseness here is, I believe, for a different reason, but it made me rethink the sparseness in The Road.   The unpunctuated dialog in this book, is simply because Griz doesn’t know how to write a novel, and Fletcher hits that perfect balance between cute non-punctuated dialog bits, and everything else that has perfect grammar.

 

Yes, the dad and his kid in The Road were hungry, and maybe that was a reason for the sparseness.   But now I don’t think so. Now I think the un-punctuated dialog was to show how quiet everyone and the world had become.  Quiet for safety. If no one knows you are there, no one can find you or hurt you. You are silent to stay safe. Punctuation is for the brave,  for people who are safe behind walls, and not using it shows we are smart enough sometimes to be afraid, and to be silent.

 

Griz isn’t that smart.

 

How different would certain scenes in Watership Down have been, if the dialog was suddenly un-punctuated?

The bulk of the novel is a super fast paced,  nail biting page turner of Griz chasing Brand all over the place, meeting John,  and then finding some other things.

 

And then the reader finds some things out.

 

You guys,  the twists at the end of this book, I can’t even.  Yes, twists plural.   You will not be prepared, I promise.   I’d say another book that this reminds me of in a certain way, but that would be a HUGE spoiler, so I’m not.  If you private message me and ask me, I’ll tell you the book that I’m thinking of.

 

I want to tell you to read it because it shows a hopeful family who wants to give their kids the best possible life. Parents who taught their children everything they knew, in hopes of raising good kids who might know kindness in a harsh world.   The writing is just spot on perfect, I gotta find me some more books written by Fletcher. There is not a single thing about this book that isn’t absolutely fantastic.

 

But?

 

No matter how much you enjoy the first 3/4 of the book,  seriously, the end.

 

Thank you for reading 1100 words of me rambling. You’ve earned this:

 

9 Responses to "A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher"

I loved this book SO MUCH. It was, hands down, my favorite book last year and I read 200 books so…yeah. Also! Very rarely do I post my reviews to my personal facebook because only a few of my friends are readers and it also makes me feel self-concious but I did post this one because I loved it so much and months later one of my friends that I don’t talk to much anymore messaged me out ot the blue to thank me for posting about the book because they bought it off my review and loved it and I swear I almost cried and was like ‘omg I’m so glad someone else read this book because of me’. Anywho. Sorry for the rambling and I’m glad you loved this so much!

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i love this ramble!! everyone was telling me last year to read this book, and i didn’t even buy a copy until like a month ago. that’ll teach me to not listen to my friends!

and thank you for restoring my faith in FB, i might even post this review there. I stopped linking my reviews to FB for many of the same reasons you mentioned. but I love that someone you had lost touch with saw your post, and tried the book, and loved it, and let you know! see?

the day before I posted this review, I read it outloud to my husband, and now he is reading A Boy and His Dog, and I keep pestering him “what scene are you at? where are you in the book??”

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I do have a page for my blog on FB but it doesn’t have a ton of followers, although sometimes some of my friends that follow that page do interact there. I very rarely ever post to my personal just because I have really cut down on my FB time overall but also because I don’t have a TON of reader friends overall on FB (maybe 20 out of 300 or something?). I was suprised and super glad when I got that message!

Hah, that’s so cool! I actually was raving about this to my IRL bookclub last time we met and several of them seemed interested, I hope they decide to pick it up so we can rave about it together–really there’s nothing better. 🙂

Liked by 1 person

Yes to all of this!! This is a book I’ll definitely reread, and I just don’t do that. So that alone tells you it’s pretty damn special. I’m not sure how Fletcher is going to top this, seriously.

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ok, so on reread, how different will the experience be, since now you know how it ends? the tension is going to be flipped around, because you’ll know how it ends, but Griz won’t know!

I love rereading books.

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Also, I think of any book I’ve read, this is the one I’ve convinced the most people to read, so I feel pretty good about that!

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the best kind of enabler!

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If something bad happens to the dog, I WILL NOT READ IT, so if it does, email me and say “skip it” and I will.

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I’m still traumatized by Harlan Ellison’s Boy and His Dog.

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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