I never understood this before, but these days I hardly get through breakfast without thinking about running, like Dead End, from the think and sticky sadness that stains every inch of our home.
"Dead End does have a mind of his own," Cub says low.
"That doesn't make him a bad dog," I snap. "Maybe it makes him a smart dog."
Twelve-year-old Dill is desperately trying to keep her family from falling apart. Her father is always at work, her mother is gone, and their dog, Dead End, seems to be here one moment and missing the next. And big trouble is brewing. A wild pack of dogs is destroying local livestock and property, and the sheriff has ordered them to be shot. Is this where Dead End has been disappearing to? How far will Dill and her best friend Cub go to uncover the truth, and hold together the last strands of a family that seems to be unraveling?
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||7.62(w) x 5.20(h) x 0.61(d)|
|Age Range:||8 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Cynthia Chapman Willis is an editor for an educational book publisher in New York City. She wrote Dog Gone, her first novel, mostly in a café, and worked on revisions while commuting on the train. She lives in New Jersey with her family. Coming in Fall 2009 for Feiwel and Friends is Buck Fever.
Read an Excerpt
Dead End starts pulling again, yanking at my wrist. Mom had known. Right after Lyon and I made our deal, she’d taken the pooch to obedience classes, had transformed him into a good dog that didn’t run off. Everyone but Mom saw this as a flat out miracle, but her sixth sense about animals had told her that he’d become a devoted pet. And he had. Devoted to her, mostly.
That’s why, it seems to me, he’s started running again: because she’s gone. Our once warm and full home is cold and hollow, with sadness collecting like dust. Not even a day after she’d left us, the pooch started pacing and whining, pawing at the door of the master bedroom. If someone were to ask me, which no one would because I’ve made it as clear as crystal that I won’t talk about her, I’d say Dead End is searching for Mom.
I’d take off, too, even leave Virginia itself, if I could get up the guts to cut away from Lyon and G.D., I’ve whispered in the dog’s ear more than once.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book tries quite hard to tell the story of Dill, Dylan who is recovering from her mother's recent death from cancer with her father and grandfather. Things are complicated as the dog, Dead End that her mother adopted is suspected of being part of a pack of dogs that are attacking livestock. Dill spends most of the book focused on Dead End as a way to try and fix things without really dealing with them. Some parts of this book are well done, the dialogue and relationships between the characters ring true but the narration in Dill's voice suffers from too much folksiness. Clearly the author is trying to capture the sound and spirit of rural Virginia but all the folksy metaphors actually get in the way of a sweet story of a family. This book would be a quick read for a nine to twelve year old and girls interested in horses will connect to Dill's love of them and all animals. The grief is dealt with in an honest manner and little detail is gone into about the hard journey of cancer, which would make this a possible read for a younger reader. Overall this is a sweet book that gets in its own way by trying too hard to use rural slightly folksy language and instead veers almost into twee.
The book moved slowly for me. It was hard for me to feel sympathetic (in the beginning) with Dill. Her denial of her mother's death was frustrating yet very believable. Dill's loyalty to Dead End was noble and a desperate attempt to keep something of her mother alive. Having lost my own mother recently, I could understand her feeling of loss and wanting to keep things the way they had been. Once she was forced to accept her mom's death, it seemed that she could begin to move on and her new puppy plus the reconnecting with her father were reasons to keep on trying. The characters were real and believable, the author did a good job in sketching them for the reader. Getting past the slow beginning was worth the effort, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a good book.
I loved this book! Not only am I an animal lover, but I also live in a small, rural community so I also understand that stray dogs can sometimes be a problem. I think this book would be great to use in a classroom in which emotions were being discussed. Counselors should also keep this book on hand for situations where a student may have lossed a loved one. If a student has experienced the same loss as Dill, the main character, it could help them cope with their pain. My only complaint is that I had a difficult time visioning Dill and the other characters. However, I thought the book was filled with valuable life lessons! Anyone who has lost a loved one or has an emotional connection to their pet will enjoy this book!
As an animal lover, I was very moved by this story. I truly enjoyed Ms. Willis' witty humor, yet at the same time , her ability to portray so well, a young girl fighting her emotional demons. A very captivating, thought provoking book....
I loved this book! Having lived in a rural community I know that roaming dogs are a problem. Ms. Willis writes with compassion and tenderness of the emotions of a young girl who has lost her mother and may soon loose her beloved pet. The reader is immediately drawn into the story and captivated until the end. Congratulations, Ms. Willis, on your first effort. I look forward to your next book.