I Live in a Doghouse by Beverly Stowe McClure
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Genre: Young Adult/Middle Grade, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (115 pages)
Age Recommendation: 8+
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe
Eleven-year-old Nick Cassidy’s stepsister delights in calling him gross names. His half-sister loves for Nick to push her in the stroller, to his embarrassment. What if the guys from school see him? All Nick wants is his father to come back and take him away from this crazy family. Is it any wonder he sometimes lives in the doghouse?
I LIVE IN A DOGHOUSE is the story of a boy’s struggles to accept his new family while he longs for the old. When his father finally returns, will Nick’s dreams come true? Or will he discover that memories sometimes are faulty, and it’s best to forget the past and treasure the present?
There’s no such thing as a perfect family.
Nick’s relationship with his stepsister, Grace, evolved slowly. I liked both of them quite a bit as individuals, although I completely understood why they found each other so irritating because the author spent so much time showing me their different points of view. Their sibling squabbles were incredibly realistic and sometimes pretty funny as well. The best scenes in this book happened when these two characters were in the same room.
Figuring out the best appropriate age recommendation was quite tricky. The storylines that involved feeling annoyed by younger siblings or completely misunderstanding why adults say certain things really sounded like they were written for kids in early elementary school. There was one subplot that involved much more mature material, though. It was handled appropriately, but the plot does talk about things that younger or sensitive readers might find scary. For this reason, I definitely don’t recommend passing this book along to anyone under the age of eight.
How someone treats their pets can reveal a lot about who they are as a person. Accident, Nick’s dog, has a very happy life. Seeing how much attention Nick gave to his dog only made me like him even more. While he definitely had his share of flaws, anyone who loves an animal as much as this character does is someone I’d like to know more about. Will Ms. McClure write a sequel? I don’t know! If she does, though, I’ll first in line to read it.
I Live in a Doghouse is about the families we wish we had as well as the ones that we’ve actually ended up with. Give it a try if you’ve ever wished one of your relatives could be something other than who and what they actually are.