Two of my very favorite books are Dog Lost by Ingrid Lee and A Dog's Life: Autobiography of a Stray by Ann M. Martin. Both stories are compelling page turners that cause the reader to root wildly for the horribly mistreated canines. Both books have those "Oh No" scenes that are like a severe blow to the gut. Recently I read Martin's Everything for a Dog, the 2009 sequel to A Dog's Life: Autobiography of a Stray. It, too, is a page turner but the set-up of the story is much different. A Dog's Life: Autobiography of a Stray is a tragedy told by Squirrel, a cast-off pup separated from her sibling Bone. Everything for a Dog is Bone's story, but he shares the spotlight with two other narrators -- Henry and Charlie -- boys whose stories are intertwined with Bone's in an unexpected, jarring plot twist. Both stories end happily, but the structure of A Dog's Life: Autobiography of a Stray is far more statisfying than Everything for a Dog. That said, neither book should be missed.
Ingrid Lee's 2011 book, Cat Found, is written in a similar fashion to her gripping, highly acclaimed Dog Lost, but it can't quite live up to Ann Martin's praise of the first book, ""Much more than a breathless page-turner. It's a brutally honest novel depicting the world of dogfighting in a wicked light but tempering any scenes of cruelty with an entire community of positive characters. And Lee brings together her winning, motley cast, human and animal, for a wonderfully heart-rousing ending. I loved it." Lee's descriptions of the feral cat colony in Cat Found is accurate, but her characterizations of the many cold, heartless working class people are wooden and stereotypical. A more accurate and engrossing read about a boy trying to do right by feral cats remains the absolutely perfect story, The Nine Lives of Travis Keating.
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