Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Greyhound - Helen Griffiths

The Greyhound
Helen Griffiths, il. Dick Amundsen (cover)
1964, Doubleday

Jamie's a small, nondescript 11-year-old when he falls in love with an elderly white greyhound named Silver Streak. When he gets a chance to own Silver, he seizes it although it means borrowing an impossible sum from the class bad boy. His mother won't let him keep the dog, so a newly determined Jamie hides him in a nearby bomb ruin. This works beautifully all summer, but winter brings new worries.

A typically dreary start from an author whose realism is sometimes a bit hard to take, this book stages a late happy ending. Silver brings Jamie out of his shell in classic dog-story fashion, as the boy forms friendships with his own sister and a classmate who admires the dog. But less classically, the dog himself is elderly, distant and, at least at first, rather dull. It's a very unusual look at how a dog adapts to an owner; Silver's quiet suits his initial owner, an elderly man who loves him but is not demonstrative. Once the dog adjusts to Jamie's more youthful, energetic ways, he sheds some of his reserve and becomes more affectionate.

Awkward language mars an otherwise well-done story. I've never liked Griffiths' writing style; her characters are strong, her plots strong, and her settings memorable, but the writing itself is weak and uninvolving.

Silver Streak - greyhound

Other Books by Author
Running Wild
Grip, A Dog Story
The Kershaw Dogs
Just A Dog
Rafa’s Dog
The Dog At The Window
The Blackface Stallion

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for you excellent summarys and reviews of these dog story books. I have read all of them and I am subscribed to your list.