A Boy and his Dog at the End of the World (Book Review)
by C.A. Fletcher
4 /5 Stars (Post-Apocalyptic Adventure (YA/Adult Fiction hybrid))
A Boy and His Dog at The End of the World is an epistolary (in this case, journal-style) novel that follows a young teenager on a journey across a nearly abandoned UK in search of his missing/stolen dog. It’s part quest/part exploration.
Griz, the main character, lives on an island with his small family. The apocalypse in this novel is one where people have been unable to have children except in rare circumstances and the novel takes places seventy years after the onset of the virus/disease that caused global infertility.
The novel is a little dry at first. Normally I love survival stories (and books that feature the sea), but I didn’t warm to the journal-like format. Because Griz was telling what happened to him after-the-fact, versus a more thrilling first- or third-person present, the action scenes during the first third felt very passive to me. The tension ramps up later when Griz begins to explore the mainland, but even that ebbs and flows in terms of interest – there is far too much description about generic cities and wildlife for my liking.
Yet, this is not a post-apocalyptic story where you’re just waiting (with anxiety) for an inevitable posse of murderers to descend. I appreciated this aspect. There are dangers, but it’s more about having a lack of people to help you in an accident than being attacked by them. In this regard, it added to the barren feel of the landscape.
It’s a very fun, enjoyable novel. I have two dogs myself and were I Griz’s age I would have done the same thing he did.
Griz is a great character and it was fun to follow him through the wasteland – he makes smart choices while also being compassionate and smart. The book strides the line between YA and an adult novel, so it’s approachable to younger readers and adults. It’s like a mix between a far less depressing (and disturbing) The Road and Where the Red Fern Grows with a bit of Z for Zachariah.
I’m not going to buy a brand-new version, as I already paid $5 for it on my Kindle, but if one pops up at a used store in the future, I’ll likely grab it. I’ll probably lend it to my daughter when she’s 12 (so in ten years haha).
If you want to read my take on the spoiler mentioned in the front matter of the book, pop onto my review here on Goodreads where it’s hidden in spoiler tags.