Before I actually talk about the book, I would like to talk about the cover. For those of you that don’t know the story, it’s about a boy and his two coon hunting, redbone hounds. I borrowed this book from a friend and was a little surprised at the cover. Let me explain. The cover was lovely, it really captured the essence of a raccoon hunt. The lantern, the ax… and yes, even the two labradors… a yellow and a black. Wait. I thought they were supposed to be hounds… Oops. Let’s try again. So, the publisher decided to try again. The second cover was more cartoon-y, and they still didn’t get it right. Sure, they got Old Dan right, but both dogs are supposed to be redbone hounds. Why would they put a basset hound on the cover? This is the newest cover too, and they couldn’t help but screw it up.
Now to my thoughts about the book.
I love this book. I love the way the main character is written. I love that it is a frame story. I love the relationship that the main character, Billy, has with his family. I love Samie the cat. I seriously laugh and cry every time I read this book. There are things I had totally forgotten about… like the story of the ax. Craziness! The writing is pretty basic, so it’s an easy read. I think the timeline in the book is a little skewed, but I can overlook that (unlike the cover, which is totally not Rawls fault). Perhaps that is just my 21st century female mind trying to process the story of a young boy growing up as a “hillbilly” in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The plot is engaging with several really exciting points before and even after the climax of the story. If you pay attention to the frame of the story, you may notice how the author/narrator uses foreshadowing in his retelling. It’s really quite a neat little trick.
I would have to say that this is one of my favorite books. I just love animal books about animals, but usually I like books told from the animal’s point of view, like “Animal Farm” and “Watership Down”. The grandpa might be my favorite character, I wish I had known my grandpa and that he would have been like the one in the story. Problem with that is I don’t live in the Ozarks and this is the 21st century…