When Mr Dog Bites
by Brian Conaghan
Sorry, didn’t enjoy this one. I felt it was trying to be the new ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’.
Dylan Mint – aged 16 – suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome and attends a special school. Like any teenage boy, he can’t wait to get a girlfriend and have sex for the first time. However, unlike most teenage boys, he struggles with anxiety and his nerves tend to show in the form of tics, cursing or even growling noises.
The author does give you a small glimpse of what it is like to be a sufferer, where the effort of trying to suppress the symptoms actually makes them worse. You learn about the prejudice that those suffering with a disability have to endure. However, this book was not for me.
I can see that many teenagers will love it with a capital ‘L’, but I don’t think that they will ‘get’ it. They will read it for the sheer pleasure of being able to read a book where the ‘f’ word and the ‘c’ word get used. And for me, that is a shame. Far more teenagers will put this book down having enjoyed the ‘naughty’ words than will put it down with a deeper understanding of the life of a Tourette’s sufferer. For anyone reading this book without any knowledge of the syndrome, they will believe that it is just a matter of swearing; it isn’t but the author has not explored all other aspects of the syndrome. He has missed an opportunity to educate young people, to raise awareness of a syndrome that can, in some cases, cause distress to the sufferer.