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Sun-mi Hwang – The Dog Who Dared to Dream

Posted in Book reviews, and Fiction

I’m a well-known dog lover. If I see an adorable doggy, I’m most likely to approach and steal your precious time, so I can cuddle with your four-legged best friend. So when my friend went to London and I asked her to bring me any book she thought I would like, The Dog Who Dared to Dream was the one she got me. How lucky I am to be around people who understand me, right?

The Dog Who Dared to Dream is a tale about a dog named Scraggly, to whom fate wasn’t particularly merciful. Born and considered as an outcast to her siblings and owner, Scraggly needs to overcome every possible obstacle which life can set up into one dog’s life. There is a traumatizing loss of siblings, own kids lot of (not only) dogs experience, loneliness and unrequited love.

The story works as a metaphor of human relationships too – every person look different, carry various experience and traumas from her past, yet all of us long for understanding and love. It reminded me of one lovely quote:

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind.

But this tale doesn’t remind only one’s need for love and kindness. The Dog Who Dared to Dream tackles also topics of social hierarchy, education and prejudices.

It’s not the first time I’ve read a book written from a pup’s perspective, however, none of them was as heartbreaking as The Dog Who Dared to Dream. It’s very easy to read about life of a dog having a problematic relationship with a cat, while both living in a nice, home environment with a loving owner. Scraggly’s story is on the contrary full of constant intrusions from the outer, frightening world, seemingly full of violence, betrayals and uncertainty. That being said, I consider such a thin book as quite emotional, probably not suitable for everyone. Once I finished it, my conclusion was simple: It was beautiful, but so, so sad. Therefore, I’m not sure if I would recommend it as a literature for younger, or very sensitive readers.

For me, the most emotionally draining parts were the ones where puppies were being sold, female dogs becoming breeders of upcoming generations, generating more money for low-income family of owners. Although, on some deeper level, I can understand this desperate action, for many maybe natural, but being involved in volunteering with abandoned and mistreated dogs looking for their new chance to live the life they deserve, I couldn’t hold back my anger. No animal should be ever consider a comodity, left alone a profitable one.

I really liked the way The Dog Who Dared to Dream is written and translated. It keeps atmosphere typical for Asian literature in general, and although Scraggly’s story can be considered as a short one, the more powerful it is.

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