KIRKUS REVIEWS Anenberg beautifully and convincingly portrays the contradictions of American society during the period, and he ably juxtaposes Eaton s mission to save her son with stories of the past showing a world which, despite many technological advances, has made few discernible social advancesAn engaging tale of a mother s and son s struggles in s America In the same way that THE HELP focused on the exploitation and humiliation of black housemaids in the s, Noel Anenberg s riveting first novel, THE DOG BOY, based on his own life experiences, focuses on the strength of a black family maid who struggles valiantly to right the wrongs in a highly dysfunctional family post WW II Phosie Mae Eaton has left Galveston, Texas, to visit her wounded son in a segregated military hospital in Los Angeles She is stunned to discover her son, a Marine hero, has been denied penicillin because no colored needles are available for the black patients In order to get money to provide for his medical care, Phosie takes a job in the home of Lucile Goldberg, a narcissistic divorcee who ignores her five year old son to focus entirely on landing another rich husband, while her deadbeat brother lives off whatever is left of the household income Mrs Goldberg has put her son in a cage because the boy constantly mimics the little dog his estranged father gave him and his mother disposed of on a distant street corner The animal is the only real love the young toddler has experienced in his short life THE DOG BOY is a powerful tale of love, hate and salvation through the loving heart of a maid who must take control


10 thoughts on “The dog boy

  1. Michelle Michelle says:

    WARNING May Contain some spoilers I really had high hopes for this book, as I am always interested in historical perspectives that were NOT taught in even the Honors, A P, or College American History classes I had access to growing up I did not realize until I received the book that the author was a white guy This raised my level of skepticism, but as I try to give folks the benefit of the doubt, I read on.Mr Anenberg wrote in his ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS that The Montford Point Marines, Am WARNING May Contain some spoilers I really had high hopes for this book, as I am always interested in historical perspectives that were NOT taught in even the Honors, A P, or College American History classes I had access to growing up I did not realize until I received the book that the author was a white guy This raised my level of skepticism, but as I try to give folks the benefit of the doubt, I read on.Mr Anenberg wrote in his ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS that The Montford Point Marines, American black men who volunteered to fight for their nation s freedom during World War II when they were not yet free have been most gracious and generous in sitting for oral histories and providing research materials that have informed my work and my person This restored my faith that the author had put the time in to do his subjects proud.Sadly, as my original gut feeling predicted, this tale unraveled for me mighty quick, and became increasingly painful to read However, like watching a car crash or a house fire, I could not look away, either I kept hoping for improvement, but just grewperplexed and frustrated with each passing page.Firstly, the dialect in the dialogue got OLD quite quickly for me I saw the purpose when Phosie Mae specified, I was talking in the submissive tone of a house Negro I hated playing that role However, the REST of the time there was a complete DISCONNECT between the dialect inside Phosie Mae s MIND, and the ludicrous,inferior slang the author kept pouring from her mouth It seemed quite demeaning and disrespectful to me Secondly, the title of the book seemed to me to certainly refer to the injured soldier, Will After reading the memory his fellow Marine shared about A Japanese Spy Dog in the third chapter of the same name, I assumed as much I couldn t understand why The Dog Boy hadn t become WILL S nickname, as it just seemed quite natural No, the Dog Boy TITLE has NOTHING to do with any MAIN character at all, but in fact is bestowed to the son of Will s Mama s new boss yes,the very TITLE which could ve and SHOULD VE been used as a means to honor Will s bravery in combat is instead granted based on the immature behavior of the white son of Phosie Mae s employer OK, but then THIS Dog Boy should have some amazing and incredible role to play in this tale, right Errr,well, No, not so muchtrue, his barking like a dog draws attention to the fact he is struggling with his family situation However, instead of any gradual improvement once Phosie Mae is a stable role model in his life, he just magically starts talking again Yes, just by allowing the boy to adopt a stray REAL dog, AND having his Father return home, little Billy was all better Oh, but the stray dog is deemed a sign from her son by Phosie Mae, so THAT makes it ALL spiritually worthwhile and cosmically significant nope, no way, this is bullocks.The rest of the book was downhill for me It seemed the author needed to ineffectively tackle another social stigma inter racial marriage Yet, this isn t even a match of equals but of a damaged Veteran for Phosie Mae to care for Perhaps as somewhat of a surrogate for her own son No, at this point I cannot recommend this work of Historical Fiction as a source of anything but further propagation of negative stereotypes, of ALL shades of the skin tone spectrum I received this book for free through the GoodReads First Reads Giveaways thank you


  2. Cindy Cindy says:

    received for free through Goodreads First ReadsNot a genre that I particularly enjoy, further compounded by weak insight of the author and jarring dialogue I was not drawn in and felt nothing for the characters.


  3. Candace Candace says:

    I read this book in a day, and so I cannot claim that it doesn t draw the reader in or hold his or her attention But is it a good book I don t think so Perhaps with a better editor or asensitive author, it could have been a solid work of fiction, but as it stands, it falls short in a number of ways.To begin with we have a main character who thinks eloquently in what is largely standard English but who speaks in a dialect that is closer to early modern Amos n Andy Please note that the I read this book in a day, and so I cannot claim that it doesn t draw the reader in or hold his or her attention But is it a good book I don t think so Perhaps with a better editor or asensitive author, it could have been a solid work of fiction, but as it stands, it falls short in a number of ways.To begin with we have a main character who thinks eloquently in what is largely standard English but who speaks in a dialect that is closer to early modern Amos n Andy Please note that the black actors playing the parts in the 50s television series were told to imitate the voice and language of the two white vaudevillians who had played the parts in the original series on radio which means that what I call Amos n Andy dialect is black actors attempting to recreate white actors pretending to be black people Only in this case, it s worse We have a white author attempting to recreate black actors attempting to sound like white oh, forget it You know what I mean It s damned derivative It s not just that the author has gotten carried away with trying to capture the sound of how Black Americans may or may not have spoken sixty years ago It s worse than that When the main character s son wants to say the word hear, the author has rendered it as here, which is a real puzzler for me The words hear and here are homonyms They sound identical So, what is the author trying to tell us about this character by having him say here when he means hear To me, it can only be interpreted as either an extremely unfortunate typo or as a way of suggesting that these people are too dumb to know the difference, even when they are using words that sound identical.I should also note that the book s dialect was a major factor in making it very hard for me to completely suspend my disbelief.But it wasn t just the dialect The words that come out of the black characters mouths tend to be heavy on both clich s and simplistic moralizing This adds to the feeling that the author doesn t think that they are all that bright.But let s set the dialect aside to move onto other aspects of the book The first three quarters of the novel is centered around the efforts by the mother of a young African American Marine, wounded on Iwo Jima, to get the colored needles required to administer life saving treatments of penicillin So here we have a grave injustice and a life or death race to get these needles in time to save the young man Those are a couple of great pivots on which to have a plot to turn Spoiler alerts follow Please do not read on unless you want to have the plot ruined for you So why does the author, around chapter 19, throw out the penicillin needle plot and have the young man die of a condition that his doctors explicitly and repeatedly state has nothing to do with his getting penicillin injections And what s worse, why does the author have this heroic young man then die from complications of what is stated, very explicitly, to be a result of infection with the Hepatitis C virus The young man must have excellent doctors Given that the term Hepatitis C wasn t coined until the 1980s, they must have been very good, indeed, excellent time traveling doctors.I know that many people aren t as conversant with medical history as I am, but it s never a good idea to state that a character dies of a specific ailment unless you know enough about it not to make a complete fool out of yourself.When I ran into Hepatitis C in Chapter 19, this destroyed whatever suspension of disbelief I had left.However, oddly, that s not the only plot point that seemed to be cast aside The book is called, The Dog Boy The main character goes to work for a truly horrible mother whose son has taken to behaving like a dog as a way of acting out his anguish about his parents divorce I assumed that, since the book was named, The Dog Boy, this character and what happened to him would have some strong importance to how the book worked out But no Apparently having his beloved father murdered in the family home has helped cure him of his malady, which seems to resolve fairly well, without muchattention being paid to it.Does the main character return to her home in Galveston, Texas, after the death of her son No, she doesn t Why I have no clue I guess because the author better liked the idea of having her marry a shell shocked paranoid war veteran possessed of far below average hygiene.The denouement of the novel felt contrived and tacked on It didn t really follow from the dramatic plot points earlier in the novel I almost wondered if he just kept re writing the ending until he came up with one that his editor thought was okay There didn t seem to be any organic roundness, no real satisfaction in how the plot worked out Son died Weird kid kinda got better Heroine decided to stay in California and marry across color lines.To be fair, I should note that there are some very nice moments of incidental description in the novel They took me by surprise and gave me some respect for the author s talents.The final conundrum about this novel is how it got a relatively positive review from Kirkus Reviews I would guess that they re available for purchase these days.Oh, and I should note that the brave or foolhardy author was kind enough to give me a copy of this book in the hope that I would review it Mission accomplished


  4. Mkittysamom Mkittysamom says:

    Phosie May, a mother whose son got injured at Iwo Jima, in the War A mother who would cross the country and do everything to save her son, Will Phosie believes God is torturing her, while her friends keep telling her to believe in Providence She is a good Christian woman, who believes in honesty, loyalty, love, and giving Actually I took a lot of her advice to my heart, she is a character to love She lands a job with a Jewish family, and the mother and son are out of control Phosie needs t Phosie May, a mother whose son got injured at Iwo Jima, in the War A mother who would cross the country and do everything to save her son, Will Phosie believes God is torturing her, while her friends keep telling her to believe in Providence She is a good Christian woman, who believes in honesty, loyalty, love, and giving Actually I took a lot of her advice to my heart, she is a character to love She lands a job with a Jewish family, and the mother and son are out of control Phosie needs this job to stay close to her son, and puts up with their wacky ways..but somehow true change happens Providence is real Just Phosie doesn t see it yet I loved this book It is set back in the 1940 s It reminds me of the book The Help, because it feels like after I read the book it gave me a warm hug and warm fuzzies The writing is superb and the characters just pull you right in by the strings of your heart This book should be a best seller It is a story that will stay with you for a lifetime and one you can go back and read again and again I just can t say how much this book touched my heart and how much I really loved it I recommend this book to mother s, son s and anyone who loves a good book.I won a copy from the author but all opinions are my own


  5. Christine Christine says:

    I won this through a Goodreads giveaway.The dialogue in this book was sometimes distracting, however, I felt compelled to continue reading, as I had to discover how all things would end A mother s love for her son could not have beenclearly expressed than in Phosie This book had a ton of characters, and a ton was happening It was an okay read, but I somehow felt disconnect from most characters as I read the book It wasn t a great read, but it wasn t terrible either Solid 3 stars.


  6. Susan Wreden Susan Wreden says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book I thought it was well written, and did a very good job depicting life in the 1940 s Even though some things were horrifying, the characters drew me in I enjoyed reading it.


  7. Oliviaolivia Oliviaolivia says:

    I received this book for free in a Goodreads giveaway After posting my honest review the author decided to email me, patronizing me because my opinion was wrong and I couldn t honestly think that way This is absolutely NOT OKAY I blocked the author and immediately contacted Goodreads about the problem IF YOU SEND OUT BOOKS FOR REVIEW YOU CANNOT BLAME THE REVIEWER FOR NOT LOVING YOUR BOOK This happened in January but I am changing my review because I see another person has experienced the sa I received this book for free in a Goodreads giveaway After posting my honest review the author decided to email me, patronizing me because my opinion was wrong and I couldn t honestly think that way This is absolutely NOT OKAY I blocked the author and immediately contacted Goodreads about the problem IF YOU SEND OUT BOOKS FOR REVIEW YOU CANNOT BLAME THE REVIEWER FOR NOT LOVING YOUR BOOK This happened in January but I am changing my review because I see another person has experienced the same problem with this author IT IS NOT OKAY TO ATTACK SOMEONE BECAUSE OF THEIR OPINION ON A BOOK I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND ANY WORKS BY THIS AUTHOR BECAUSE OF HIS BEHAVIOR


  8. Diana Petty-stone Diana Petty-stone says:

    I laughed out loud and cried tears down my face and I loved every bit of it.


  9. Carol Carol says:

    The description on this book says this is the story of a colored soldier who is injured in WWII and the struggle for his mother to secure colored needles so her son can get treatment However, the title refers to a child of the woman the mother works for and the bulk of the story then moves to that household.The story that dealt with the mistreatment of black soldiers was interesting and sad however I had problems going along with a lot of other plot lines The family the mother works for is w The description on this book says this is the story of a colored soldier who is injured in WWII and the struggle for his mother to secure colored needles so her son can get treatment However, the title refers to a child of the woman the mother works for and the bulk of the story then moves to that household.The story that dealt with the mistreatment of black soldiers was interesting and sad however I had problems going along with a lot of other plot lines The family the mother works for is way beyond toxic and it seemed far fetched she would feel that trapped or stay on with the family The love interest between the mother and her employer s brother seemed odd The mother talks in a dialect that grates and while she claims it is to fit what she thinks are expectations white people have she also thinks in the same dialect The best part of this book for me were some observations the mother would make about life and human nature.I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads


  10. Pamela Pamela says:

    I thought about how life can feel as fixed as granite yet at the same time be as fragile as the filaments of a spider s web Like Adam in the Garden of Eden, one day we feel we are the masters of our destiny, the next day we feel we are not Yet the good Lord designed it so we still have to keep on living, choosing good over evil, light over darkness, no matter how much difficulty we face Post war America, 1945, there was much to celebrateso for those who were affluent, educated, healt I thought about how life can feel as fixed as granite yet at the same time be as fragile as the filaments of a spider s web Like Adam in the Garden of Eden, one day we feel we are the masters of our destiny, the next day we feel we are not Yet the good Lord designed it so we still have to keep on living, choosing good over evil, light over darkness, no matter how much difficulty we face Post war America, 1945, there was much to celebrateso for those who were affluent, educated, healthy, employed, and above all else white Basically, the same prejudicial parameters that applied before the bombing of Pearl Harbor were still applicable on the coattails of V J Day Sadly, this included The Montford Marines, American black men who volunteered to fight for their nation s freedomI felt as if we were in a little sailboat at sea and Will had fallen overboard We were circling him and trying to reach for him, but each time we did he drifted farther away All we could do was watch helplessly and hope that the good Lord would help us find a way to save him Noel Anenberg has penned a bold, emotionally charged, historical novel partial memoir that centers around Phosie Mae Eaton, mother of wounded black American Marine Will Eaton, her struggle to help Will receive the quality healthcare he desperately needs, and her search for inner peace amidst turmoil Part of the turmoil is cultural shock leaving Galveston to live in Los Angeles near Will The greater turmoil lies in Phosie s living working situation as a domestic in the dysfunctional home of a loose, sailor mouthed Jewish divorcee of the highly volatile Mr Goldberg and their neglected traumatized dog barking son I was caught between life and death, alone like someone drowning without strength to claw back to the surface, but still conscious and still aware of a deep voice within that screams, I want to live, dear Lord, please, help me find a reason to live Praise for Anenberg s Dog Boy Captivating storyline clear distinct imagery historically sound satisfactory character development growth bite sized smooth transitioning chapters nuggets of wisdom and endearing quotes laced throughout It s a reasonably good debut novel However, it could be an exceptionally great novel with benefit of a seasoned editing publishing marketing team on board, as there is need for a bit of polish The cover s image design is wonderful The title, not so much it s misleading and off putting Eugene Groves, the Marine depicted, is not the Dog Boy Nor is the book s primary focus on a dog or a boy Another issue the discrepancy between Phosie s non ebonic, educated narrative voice and her strongly ethnic, lack of formal education oral voice The excessively inconsistent chasm could be a deal breaker for literary stringent readers And when using Ebonics, if too heavy handed it hinders readability as was the case in this novel Additionally, Phosie s lamenting inner dialogue was often too melodramatic Then lastly, aside from a few typos and a considerable bit of offensive language, here s my final observation Paragraph after paragraph after paragraph of excessive capitalization and exclamation usage is extremely annoying The objective YAP YAP YAP YAP YAP YAP should be YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP to create YAP YAP YAP YAP YAP YAP within the reader YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP empathizing feelings YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP toward a character and or situation not create the desire to chuck the book across the room Please note, despite flaws and personal pet peeves, I didn t chuck Anenberg s novel across the room The greater sum of good outweighed the bad The Dog Boy is a worthy story that begs to be read by those who enjoy heartfelt historical fiction steeped in culture, anomalies, societal issues, relationship complexities, and unique regional settings Additionally, the acknowledging honor Anenberg gives to those who serve and have served the great United States of America is highly commendable Hand salute 3 1 2 Stars with potential for elevation through benefit of a seasoned editing publishing marketing team Full disclosure I received this novel directly from the author, Noel Anenberg, as a giveway through Goodreads with the expectation of writing a review Thank you Mr Anenberg and Goodreads