Friday, 7 March 2014

Girl with a White Dog

I went to a book launch last weekend. I was so delighted to be there to help celebrate. Going there I realised I'd never actually met the author before but that seemed quite strange because I really felt as if I had. I've 'known' Anne Booth through the strange medium that is Twitter for a couple of years now and I've followed the progress of 'Girl with a White Dog' from draft to agented to submitted to- small gasp- PUBLISHED during that time. Hooray! Anne is an author. It's been a vicarious thrill to follow that journey.

Anyone that has/does 'follow' Anne on Twitter understands quite quickly that she is one of life's goodies; someone who not just cares about people and the issues that affect them but acts on those cares too. It's a tricky thing sometimes; being 'good' in this speedy, self-centred world of ours. Kindness can be such an underrated virtue. And kindness, goodness, the softer, less certain sides of being a teenager in the here and now can get just as overlooked in contemporary children's books. I knew Anne's book would be concerned with these things; would be "good" in that sense but would it also be a page turner, an enjoyable/exciting read? Would it (cough) also be GOOD?

The fact that I read the whole thing in one greedy gollop on the way home from the launch and ended up embarrassingly moist eyed and somewhat snotty on the tube answers that question. 'Girl with a White Dog' is a wonderful read; combing a soft and funny understanding of the complications of Year 9 life with a gently challenging exploration of the consequences of indoctrination and prejudice.

There's some pretty weighty stuff hiding within its pages. The consequences of family break up, dementia, disability, economic migration, racism and most centrally; the long shadows of the Holocaust. But it wears all this weight so lightly. It's also a story about a teenager, a cute boy and a naughty puppy. Such a tricky balance to have achieved. Be warned; it's sneakily sweet and THEN it makes you sob.

This is a book that's going to be part of every school library for a long time to come. That will be loved AND taught from I think. I feel very proud to have seen it into the world and read one of the first copies. I will be able to look back and say "I was the one who ate all the Extremely Chocolatey Minibites at the launch of that book y'know." We all have a contribution to make. Congratulations Anne.
'Girl with a White Dog' by Anne Booth, pub. Catnip isbn  978-1846471810


  1. Polly - that is such a lovely review! I was so glad you could come (& thank you so much for the lovely presents and card!) and I am so completely delighted that you enjoyed it and am so grateful you have taken the time to write about it. Thank you so, so much!

  2. So glad you loved this too Polly. I was actually almost terrified when I picked up Anne's book to read, with very similar fears to yours. And like you I really really think it is something special.