I go to bed now.
Here is a book.
By William H. Armstrong
There’s nothing the boy enjoys more than to go hunting with his father and Sounder, their great red hound dog.
But one cold night, the sheriff comes to the family’s cabin and arrests the boy’s father for stealing a ham. As they set off with the boy’s father in their wagon, Sounder bolts after them and before the boy can catch him, the deputy shoots the dog and the boy has to learn to cope with losing in one night the two things he loved best.
This is another one of those books that was a favourite of mine when I was a kid.
Now that I’ve re-read it, I don’t see a whole lot to like about it, but I think that the primary reason I read it over and over when I was in grade school was because the boy in the story was attached to his dog the way I always imagined I would be if I’d had a pet as a child.
I feel like a lot of the books I read growing up were probably that way…all about kids who had pets that they were very, very attached to, and I read them because I didn’t have a pet until I was just about a teenager.
So yes, I suppose this would still be an okay book for kids who are obsessed with animals, but for other readers (or older ones), it’s pretty awful. The plot is very vague. Events happen in the book…but even after spending a few years studying this sort of thing, I don’t think I could explain why the story continues for nearly 100 pages after the main points of interest…and in a 116 page book, 100 pages after the height of the action is a looooong time to be dragging on.
The book might also offend some extremely silly people who think that it’s important to shelter children from racism…the family in the book is black, and only one of the white characters is portrayed as being any kind of decent, with most of them being cruel to the boy and his family.
The one thing that really did interest me a bit was that the book had lots of very dark moments that I never noticed when I was a kid…and it’s not in the action of the story, maybe, but in the things that the boy thinks about and the way the author describes him remembering how he saw a bull killed once, and imagines a white prison guard being killed in a similar fashion, or about how he saw Sounder kill a weasel once, and imagines his father killing another guard like that…some pretty grisly stuff.
Overall, I’m of the opinion that this book isn’t much good…but that’s just me. I mean, it did win an award in children’s literature.