Monday, November 9, 2009

Would you adopt this dog?

This one made me laugh out loud. William Dufris' dog characters in A Dog on his Own are pretty darn hilarious. Trust me ... he sounds like that face. Mary Jane Auch's deeply satisfying animal story (and I know I've said that I'm a pile of sentimental goo when reading these) works extremely well as an audiobook. The cover dog is K-10, six-time veteran of the animal shelter. He still thinks he's pretty charming and cute, but his days as a go-home-on-the-first-day dog are behind him. That's OK; K-10 -- so named by his mother who said he was a cut above the other dogs -- doesn't really want a forever home: humans have given him up time and time again and he is having none of them anymore. But he's got to get out before he gets the permanent thumbs down.

K-10 plots his escape from the shelter with the dog in the neighboring cage, Pearl, a sarcastic lab mix; but when the time comes for their big break, they end up dragging along Pepe (Peppy?), a typically excitable Chihuahua. Pearl soon goes her own way, and then K-10 sees that Pepe makes it back to his owner (none too bright, Pepe ran away by mistake). On his own, as the title says, K-10 gets caught up with the town's truly bad dogs -- Doberman Adolf and Rottweiler Rotter. Pearl rescues him and loosens up enough to tell her own story. She believes in happy endings, and it's her friendship that helps K-10 believe in them too.

Dufris has an enjoyable time here. His high, squeaky voice hits just the right notes of doggy enthusiasm and cockiness as K-10 tells his story. He skillfully creates a number of the other character dogs as well: Pearl has a seen-it-all ennui to her voice, Pepe is eager and hyperactive without the icky stereotypically Mexican accent, Adolf is a deep-voiced German who sounds like he came from a World War II movie, and Rotter is a mobster straight from The Sopranos. When the animal shelter brings out its box of puppies, Dufris produces five or six yippy bits of dialog that are truly doggy. (That's when I first laughed.) All his voices are consistent throughout this brief novel. He practically could have done the whole thing without the "s/he saids."

As is always the case with Full Cast Audio productions, the music here is an intrinsic part of the audiobook. It's fresh and appropriate. This is new imprint from Full Cast, called One Voice. I think this must be its first publication, and it makes a fine addition to the catalog.

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