Someone To Look Up To review by Christian Reader
Someone To Look Up To: a dog's search for love and understanding
Age Range - 12 and up
Genre - Adventure

Student Review

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Age at time of review - 22
Reviewer's Location - Yucaipa, CA, United States
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Sirius Soum de Gaia was a purebred Pyrenees Patou.  Bred for beauty and show-winning, he told the story of his life, starting with his earliest memories in the womb, jostling alongside his brothers and sisters, and following his life to adulthood, showing how he dealt with adversity, trials, and tribulation.  Ultimately, he searched for one thing in life: someone he could look up to.

Opinion: 

This novel was superbly written. The language choices created a colorful and realistic atmosphere that drew me in from page one. The setting was superbly described, no matter how constantly-changing it happened to be within this novel. The usage of word-choice helped to instill in the reader this sense and idea of actually reading a dog’s thoughts. The style of writing was akin to stream-of-consciousness, and helped create the proper atmosphere and mindset from the start of the novel. 

From the very beginning, the reader was highly invested in this dog, as the particular choice wording helped to create a sense of connection and understanding with the beast. No longer would the reader count the creature as a mere pup or a bedraggled mutt – nay, the reader quickly came to the understanding that this beast was not all that he appeared to be, and rather was an intelligent and feeling canine, one to be considered in the highest regard. Still, however, the dog had his quirks and downfalls. He was not perfect, even if he believed himself to be.  Thus, the characterization was flawless in terms of Sirius, realistic to the core and exceedingly well-executed. The characterization of his first two humans, Marc and Christine, and a later human, Elodie, were also very well done, as were the subsequent humans he had to deal with during the rest of the novel. While the humans were seen through the eyes of the dog and thus skewed by the biased narrator that Sirius happened to be, they were still fleshed out to be three-dimensional and well-rounded. Everything the humans did was believable and realistic. 

While I enjoyed Sirius’s character more due to his humorous qualities and introspective nature, Marc, Christine, and Elodie were still very well-created and were understandably real, full of both perfections and imperfections. Additionally, the other human characters were created well, and were realistic with both pros and cons to their characters. The additional dogs in the story – from the Newfie to the Dachs-Terrier – were all very well fleshed-out and realistic, as well. They seemed just as real and understandable as Sirius, and each had their flaws and imperfections along with their good qualities. Thus, every character in this novel was three-dimensional, believable, and very well-rounded.

The plot itself was very simple, and I had my doubts when I decided to review this book. I’m a sucker for a well-written animal story, and I really hoped that this novel would reach my high expectations. The book’s pacing was very well done and kept my attention the entire way through the novel. Between Sirius’s comedic antics during training and the episodes between him and his multiple owners, the pacing was kept very quick and brisk, never slowing down or feeling stagnant.

Overall, I felt that the book did its job entertaining me as a reader and keeping my easily-wavering attention span. I managed to finish the book in about two days, so it was a fast read for me, as well. I don’t like books that take me weeks to read, so the smaller size of the novel appealed to me as well.

Through well-written characterization, plot, and setting, I came to love this story and count it as a welcome addition to my personal library.

Rating:
5
Content Rating:

Content rating - some mature content

Explain your content rating: 

This book contains some profanity, though not heavy-duty four-letter words. God’s name is taken in vain frequently, so if the reader happens to be religious and doesn’t like that sort of thing, note that it is clearly present in this novel. There are quite a few sexual comments in the beginning of the book describing how Sirius’s parents met and mated, and a few interspersed throughout the rest of the book, mostly between Sirius’s first owners, what with them being a married couple. Additionally, towards the latter half of the novel, more talk of mating between dogs is discussed due to the canines reaching adulthood. Violence and cruelty towards animals is heavily seen toward the middle of the book. Toward the end of the book, there are a few scenes of domestic violence. Talk regarding vomit, excrement, urine, blood, and other basic bodily functions are mentioned throughout the entire book. The discussions in the dog prison around the middle point in the novel take a turn for the dark side, and mention things like molestation and dogs eating human babies. Parents/parental guardians, teachers, and/or librarians should probably look this book over before giving it to a child/student, particularly if the child/student is more sensitive to any of the previously-mentioned materials.

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