Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Mad Dog, by Kelly Watt {ends 10/9}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley
Peter’s birthday fell on a Saturday in July. The day the newspapers were splattered with pictures of the Harlem race riots, people smashing window and throwing Molotov cocktails, black faces running from white faces, protesting the white shooting of a Negro boy. Still, all was peaceful in Eden Valley.

Standing in the kitchen, hands in his pockets, shrugging bashfully, not looking a day over sixteen, Peter announced to everyone he was turning nineteen and Sheryl didn’t utter a word to the contrary. Fergus gave Peter a brand new Yamaha guitar, saying: I thought you might need something a little better to practice on, it’s not a Martin or a Fender Telecaster I know, but the man at the store told me a Yamaha is a good learning guitar. It has six strings, chrome tuning heads and these nice white inlay thingamejiggies along the neck. I felt a young man with your talent, kiddo, should have himself a real guitar. Are you pleased?

No one really knows what happens within a family, behind closed doors. And this family makes it even harder with their rule to never talk about the night once the day starts again.

Official synopsis:

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Mad Dog, by Kelli Watt {ends 10/9}
It's the summer of 1964 and the Supremes are the reigning queens of radio. Sheryl-Anne MacRae dreams of running away from her home on an apple orchard in southwestern Ontario to find her missing mother. But the teenager's plans are put on hold when her uncle and guardian, Fergus, the local pharmacist and an amateur photographer, brings home a handsome young hitchhiker. When Sheryl-Anne meets the guitar-toting Peter Lucas Angelo, she falls in love. But life in Eden Valley is not as idyllic as it seems. As the summer progresses, Peter is pulled deeper into Fergus's dangerous underworld--a world of sex, drugs, pornography and apocalyptic visions. Through the naïve eyes of the ethereal 14-year old Sheryl-Anne, Kelly Watt explores themes of child abuse and sexual deviance, and the secrets, dissociation and denial that allow it to flourish. A Gothic tale told in vivid, often hallucinogenic prose, Mad Dog was a 2001 Globe and Mail notable book and Watt's first novel.

This book wasn’t quite what I expected. I’ve read my share of gothic fiction, but this was even darker than I expected. The book starts out a bit milder, but as the lives and the craziness of some family members progressed, everything got worse for everyone in a hurry.

While "likable" isn’t really a word that would apply to the characters, I think that is in part because the book was about their darkness. Even those who were primarily victims of the abuse were never held up as good people. Their bad choices and the results were what the story was about.

While the author does have one other book (Camino Meditations), I can’t find that she’s published another book of fiction. I enjoyed her writing style, and may be curious to check out her other book.

Overall, I’d be careful who I recommended Mad Dog to, as it definitely has moments that may be triggering for abuse survivors or others. I’d give it 2.5 out of 5 stars.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley is a mom, daughter, wife, lunch-lady (who mostly serves breakfast), cross-stitcher, junk-food snacker, and avid reader. She also posts from time to time at SweetlyBSquared.com.


One of my lucky readers will win a copy of Mad Dog!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Wednesday, October 9th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified via email the next day, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

Open to U.S. and Canadian residents only, please.

Good luck!

Mad Dog, by Kelly Watt


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