When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan

When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan


I foolishly went into this book thinking it was something it wasn’t. Dylan Mint has Tourette’s. “Overhearing a hushed conversation between the doctor and his mum, Dylan discovering that he’s going to die in March.” It was described as hilarious and touching. In my head I thought back to reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time meeting some sort of feel good bucket list despite his extremely juvenile list. “First, he wants to have real sex with gorgeous Michelle Malloy.” I went in with an open mind.

It’s a first person telling so we are inside Dylan’s head. It was a strange place to be. Not because of his Tourette’s, but because of my conflicting opinions of him. It was strange tennis match of love and hate. To his credit, one of Dylan’s to do items is find a new best friend for Amir. Amir is not liked at school because of his race and religion. Dylan sticks up for him and his efforts are admirable. However, he’s remarks towards Michelle Malloy are sexist, overly explicit and downright inappropriate. I would argue that I’m a more mature woman reading from a teenage boy’s perspective so an opinion clash would be a given. However, this was marketed as both a young adult and adult fiction book. Even selected as part of the Waterstones Book Club. I think a lot of people would feel as uncomfortable as me reading parts, actually, most of this book.

I also found the telling a little insulting. Dylan may have been oblivious to the truth, but to the audience it was pretty obvious. Hearing his ‘death sentence’ is from Dylan not listening which is not established as one of his characteristics. His mother’s behaviour changes and he thinks his father is a special solider in the army. Rather than an author withholding information and the truth like in all good crime books, scenarios and misunderstanding were forced and artificial. Needless to say, it was not the book I hoped for when opening it.

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