Perhaps with him I am a dog
What was Kevin? He was earnest yet playful, boisterous yet lazy, a little rough sometimes, extremely direct and always sure of what he wanted. He was also sensitive, kind, supportive and caring, not to mention highly communicative and supremely understanding towards children.
My Life as a Dog is the funny, heartwarming and moving story of a life shared between a black and tan dachshund and his owner.
Told over two days and a weekend drawn from their many years together, it explores how Kevin overcame his cruel upbringing to flower into a self-confident dog that left everyone he met spellbound. And as they grew together, his owner learned to live in the present and navigate the difficult times they faced together.
But with Kevin rejected by the canine world and their connection ever-more profound and symbiotic, the question was: What does he think I am?
L. A. Davenport is author of the thriller Escape, and the short story collections No Way Home and Dear Lucifer and Other Stories.
Concept/Idea: L. A. Davenport’s short memoir is light on action and heavy on chronology. It renders an effective, novel, and touching portrait of a man’s love for his dog, yet its repetitive day-in-the-life recitations can become tiresome. Still, the author’s self-expression and cogent insights provide necessary breaks from the quotidian’s invariability. Two intriguing plot points spark curiosity but remain unpursued. While in some respects it’s a missed opportunity to enliven the narrative with conflict and characterization, the work is intentionally esoteric, often brimming with inventiveness and wit.
Prose: The manuscript opens with a brilliantly crafted passage, which captivates the reader and establishes tone and pacing. Elegant and highly descriptive prose portrays the scene and landscape and the physical attributes and behavior of the memoir’s central figure — indeed, such descriptions comprise the narrative’s bulk.
Originality: Though the book's emotionalism and anthropomorphism are occasionally irksome, it's obsessional rhythms are decidedly unique. A more diverse narrative structure may well benefit the narrative without resulting in a lessening of its charms.
Execution: Davenport’s concept-driven memoir is a snippet of his life with his dog. While many readers may lose interest as a result of the narrative quietude, the memoir's freshness and intelligence cannot be discredited.
Date Submitted: January 14, 2020