The Dog, Ray
November 08, 2016
Daisy, age twelve, has died in a car accident. She finds herself in the afterworld, which resembles nothing more than a job center. Her soul is being returned to Earth, but not as a human being—she’s returning as a dog. A dog who retains Daisy’s thoughts and pluck and is determined to get back to her parents and to get back home. What she doesn’t expect is that life as a dog named Ray would come with such worries—and moments of jubilation—as she grows to care for others in a whole new way. Told in a compelling first-person voice, Linda Coggin’s incredible novel touches on loyalty and freedom, connection and acceptance, and is sure to stay with readers long after the story is done.
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In the tradition of Zevin's Elsewhere or Mass' Heaven is a Lot Like the Mall, Coggin has created a credible afterlife wherein souls are reused. I personally would argue that in order to be reincarnated as a dog, you have to be incredibly good, but Ray doesn't have an easy dog life. From negligent owners to a close call with euthanasia, Daisy experiences the world from a dog's point of view while still struggling with her human memories and desires.
Pip's quest to find his father is compelling, and it is encouraging that he and Daisy/Ray find people to help them along the way. This is a fairly short book, so there is not a lot of character development, but there are some nice moments. The fact that the homeless Jack and Ray are far nicer and more generous with Daisy than the spoiled Cyril is an especially nice touch.
Readers who like books written from the perspective of animals, or who are interested in the concept of an afterlife will find The Dog, Ray to be an interesting read.
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