A copy of The Dog Who Dared to Dream was kindly sent to me by Little, Brown Book Group in exchange for an honest review.
The Dog Who Dared to Dream is a sweet little book about a dog called Scraggly who is outcast because of her unusual looks – she is a dark shaggy dog, much different from her mother and siblings, yet she always manages to persevere throughout her life and develops a loving relationship with her owner, Grandpa Screecher. This book could have easily been about a human who was trying to fit into the world, which is something I think a lot of people will enjoy and find relatable.
The book is translated from the original Korean and has adorable, simple illustrations at the beginning and end of each chapter (I will admit this was one of my favourite aspects of the book, the illustrations really are beautiful). The story itself is quite simple; it tells the story of Scraggly’s life and the things that happen to her in her little corner of the world, living with Grandma and Grandpa Screecher and exploring the surrounding area. The writing is very fluid and easy to read, and I flew through the story in a couple of short sittings. It was the sort of book that I wasn’t really sure had a point – why write about a dog dreaming of bigger and better things? – but it was an enjoyable read nonetheless.
I really fell for Scraggly – I’m nearly always a fan of the underdog and that is exactly what she is as a scruffy misfit. Her life is not always easy and I was surprised by how much I empathised with her; often it was easy to forget that I was reading from the perspective of a dog as Hwang has injected a lot of humanity into Scraggly’s character. The emotions she feels are very raw and real and you feel everything – longing, love, hate, fear – alongside her. She’s just another character trying to find her place in the world, find some love and happiness, overcome her struggles, and it didn’t really matter that she has four legs and fur.
Read: July 5th 2016