The beauty of Wild Dogs

What I read

Wild Dogs by Helen Humphreys

What it’s about

A group of strangers have something in common: Their dogs have left their domestic lives and now roam in the wild as a pack. The group gathers near the forest each evening to call out to their dogs, hoping they will come back home. When a tragedy occurs, the group is forced to question the meaning of their relationships with each other.

How I got my hands on it

I got a copy of Wild Dogs through the Toronto Public Library. I was looking for something to read with no particular title in mind, and I decided to see which of Helen Humphreys’ books were available. I’ve read a few other books by Humphreys, and I like her poetic and meditative style of writing.

I wasn’t sure about Wild Dogs when I first saw it. It sounded so different from a lot of Humphreys’ other books, which are often historical fiction set in England. But I’d read the other titles the branch had available and thought I’d give Wild Dogs a try. Turns out, this is my favourite Humphreys’ book I’ve read (and has increased my desire to continue to read more of her work).

A bit that I really liked

The story is told in three parts: the first is Alice’s perspective, written in the second person; the second part is broken into several other perspectives, written in the third person; and the third part returns to Alice.

Alice’s sections were my favourites. Part of the reason might be because writing in the second person isn’t as common first or third, so it makes that writing stand out. Expressing Alice’s perspective in this way creates a more intimate connection with the reader. It’s like reading someone’s letters or their diary.

Since I got this book from the library, I know I’m going to purchase my own copy so that I can underline, highlight and make notes in the margins. This is one of the reasons that no matter how much I support libraries, I will never be able to stop buying books.

You’ll want to read it if…

You will probably like this book if you fall into any of these categories, but you will love it if all of these apply:

  • You like dogs.
  • You enjoy beautifully written prose.
  • You appreciate nature.
  • You like books that will have you thinking about them after you’ve stopped reading.
  • You’ve loved someone…and/or a dog.

Recommended refreshments

There are several places in this book where the characters imbibe, and understandably so. A bit of bourbon or scotch would go well with this novel. Just be sure to stop at a bit. This book will likely get you ruminating and reminiscing, and, well, too much of anything usually isn’t good.