A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is a dystopian tale of self-discovery, following a boy who doesn’t understand how things work in a post-apocalyptic landscape, who leaves the safety of his family island to bring his dog home. We see him experiencing the world for the first time, leaving the readers to balance a sense of wonderment and a sadness for what once was and can no longer be.
The real strength of the book lies in the elaborate creation of its setting. As the boy travels from home, the setting shifts along with our perceptions of his predicament. In the beginning, we see the safety of home, the pieced together lodgings and every day sights taken for granted. The world seems a little fresher at times with its lush vegetation strewn about local islands, slowly overtaking the few remaining homes. As the boy ventures further, the world becomes more wild and unexpected, revealing new hazards and wonders alike.
You really get to know the main character and, through his eyes, the many intricacies of this changed world. Even when it seems terrifying to our sheltered selves, to him it’s an exciting adventure as he gets to experience things we’d never bat an eyelash at. The book really makes you think about appreciating what we have while we have it.
Fletcher does a great job at balancing the tragedy of a dystopian world with the need to discover it. The remnants of a normal day are everywhere, left behind for time to overtake. Mixed in with the boy’s experiences is a sense of dread at the world becoming such a dead place. The realities of the setting are amplified by the boy’s ongoing conversation of a photograph from our time. He imagines what it would be like to walk the pristine streets, to ride a rollercoaster or fly in a plane. It’s a balance between excitement for the character and tragedy at what we could lose.
Overall, A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is a great dystopian novel, following a protagonist I was eager to know. His mission is simple at the start and gradually grows to change his life entirely. There’s suspense and excitement, joy and sorrow, and everything necessary for a great read.
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
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