Book Review: When Mr Dog Bites

When Mr Dog Bites- Brian Conaghan
When Mr Dog Bites has not been specifically targeted at the young adult demographic, but it certainly fits the genre well. A tale of Dylan Mint, a 16 year old boy with Tourette's Syndrome, who finds out he is dying and aims to complete his short, modest bucket list in the few months he has left.

As Dylan manoeuvres through teenage life, he comes up against the problems that young men tend to find themselves in: Trouble with bullies, tricky attempts at seducing beautiful girls, coping with the breakdown of his family. The fact that Dylan has Tourette's is not a focus of the novel but rather a background aspect from which the rest of the story flows.
Although Dylan is only diagnosed with Tourette's, I found his choice of words very odd for a 16 year old with no other needs. His obsession with cockney rhyming slang and onomatopoeical exclamations seem to relate more to somebody with Asperger's or autism, but perhaps this is a symptom of Tourette's that I'm not aware of.

The use of language also bothered me in the text conversations between Dylan and his best friend Amir. As is usually the case with teenage protagonists texting, the use of language seemed cringy and antiquated, a little desperate to seem modern. 
Although interesting as a coming of age story with an unusual element, I didn't particularly warm to any of the characters. I feel as though I shouldn't say this, but Dylan irritated me. He was too naive and senseless for me to really get behind him and, being a teenage boy, had that whiny, self-indulgent tone that seems to be a requirement of puberty. The conclusion is predictable and only deepened my annoyance with Dylan- How could he not see what was coming?

Unfortunately, I don't think When Mr Dog Bites is a book that I will recall well in a year's time. It certainly wasn't a difficult read but there was no substance to it either. 

This book was provided by Waterstones in exchange for participating in an online book club. 

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