I had absolutely no intention of ever reading this book. I watched half of the film during a school lunch time and even though I enjoyed watching it as it made me laugh, I knew it would get really sad, so I stopped watching. I struggle with any animal dying in a book, especially dogs. I've never forgiven Patrick Ness for how he treated Manchee and I refuse to ever watch Marley and Me.
So what made me read Red Dog? CoVid -19! The last week of school before the government shut them all down was unbelievably stressful, as no one knew what was happening. I picked the book up for some light relief as I knew the beginning would make me laugh. The trouble with books like this is once you start, you can't stop.
I was convinced that Louis Bernieres must be Australian, because the book is told in such an authentic Australian voice. It shows how talented the author he is, because in actual fact, he's English and only visited Red Dog's home town for a couple of weeks.
Unlike the film, the book is told in more episodic chapters, going back and forth throughout Red Dog's life. The way it's written, you get a real sense of how Red Dog yearned to be free, he didn't want to be owned by anyone except John. He had a happy, eventful life and everyone knew him and fed him. He was also extremely well known for his potent gases, which could keep a bus empty for ages.
My favourite part was when Red Dog was taken to the vet's on numerous occasions. It took the vet until the fifth visit to realise it was the same dog coming in with different people, because everyone took care of him.
I love that they built a statue in his honour. He's one of those dogs, you wish you had met. Even though the ending is sad, this book leaves you with a warm feeling inside. I highly recommend reading this book, it's short yet bursting with humour and warmth.