Book Review: Hound Dog True by Linda Urban

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hound dog trueTitle: Hound Dog True
Author: Linda Urban
Date(s) read: July 25, 2013
Genre: MG Contemporary
Source: Publisher (Paperback)

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“Do not let a mop sit overnight in water. Fix things before they get too big for fixing.” Fifth-grader Mattie Breen writes it all down. She has just one week to convince Uncle Potluck to take her on as his custodial apprentice before school starts. As his apprentice, she’ll have important work to do during lunch and recess . . . work that will keep her safely away from other fifth-graders. But when Mattie’s plans come crashing down, she ends up with a friend who is hound dog true.

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Thank you to Thomas Allen & Sons for a copy of this for review!

I have a bit of a confession to make about this book. When I first received it, I thought it was about a dog. Like, really. When I got about half-way through and realized it WASN’T about a dog, I realized that I built it all up for nothing. Luckily, the story turned out to be a short and poignant tale about growing up and stepping into your own shadow.

I wasn’t too sure what to think of this book as I was reading. Part of me really couldn’t connect with Mattie’s character. She was so unbelievably shy and almost too young for her age (which was probably just a side effect of being so shy). When I realized that she spent all of her free time either documenting things that were going on, or hanging out in her uncle’s shadow, I got more comfortable with the story. At some point in our lives, we have to learn how to create, how to use our imagination — facts are great, but we need to learn to play.

It was interesting to see the transformation that took place in Mattie’s character as she slowly came out of her comfort zone. I kind of loved Quincy, the neighbour’s neice, who was quite older than Mattie, but who seemed to see that Mattie was stuck inside her shell and needed to come out. The friendship that was forged between these two really brought a smile to my face and I loved seeing Mattie become a little more comfortable in her own skin — maybe enough to go out and make some friends, rather than isolate herself once she starts to go to school.

While this wasn’t my favourite coming-of-age story, I did really like how Linda Urban got into the head of this young character, making her very believable and someone people could relate to. It’s a story about being brave and taking chances while still remaining true to yourself.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Hound Dog True by Linda Urban

  1. Totally get why you imagined it was about a dog. Sounds like it from the title and synopsis! It’s disappointing when that happens, isn’t it?
    Have you read “Marley and Me?” I loved it (didn’t so much love the movie however) That one IS about a dog. And bring your tissues.

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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