Happy Monday, everyone!
This week, we're reviewing Molly's Story, by W. Bruce Cameron.
Read on for my mixed thoughts about this book and more!
MMGM is a feature hosted by (fabulous) author Shannon Messenger on her blog every week!
Published July 3rd 2017 by Starscape Books
Format read: Finished copy, via publisher
Molly knows that her purpose is to take care of her girl, C.J., but that won’t be easy. Neglected by her mother, Gloria, who won’t allow her to have a dog, C.J. is going through some tough times. Molly’s job is to stay hidden in C.J.’s room, cuddle up to her at night, and protect her from bad people. And no matter what Gloria does to separate them, nothing will keep Molly away from the girl that she loves.
Here what I liked:
First things first: yes, W. Bruce Cameron does an excellent job of writing from Molly’s perspective. It had the potential to be extremely corny - after all, you’re reading it from a dog’s perspective - but Cameron not only made me sincerely believe that these were Molly’s thoughts, Cameron also made me believe in the range of emotions that Molly was feeling. While there were some moments that made me go hmm - e.g. would Molly innately understand what a bottle was, without having been taught as much? - it just made sense.
And more importantly, Cameron made it make sense without belittling the reader. The book isn’t necessarily writing to fit a specific age, which made the reading process flow even better.
Second, Cameron very clearly understands a dog and human’s bond. He’s very good at showcasing and explaining what a dog might be thinking, as they interact with their humans. It’s actually a very intelligent, sympathetic portrayal, and something that young readers will likely enjoy learning from.
(As someone who is currently trying to train a cat using the treat method showcased in this book, I know I was certainly appreciative!)
Third, the awkward relationship between mother and daughter. Cameron sensitively depicts an emotionally abusive relationship between mother and daughter, without necessarily spelling it out. It’s not explicitly discussed, but Cameron’s acknowledgement hat such a relationship can be damaging, is important.
But with that being said:
What I didn’t necessarily like, but understand:
There’s a subplot in the book that involves CJ doing something somewhat reckless, in the name of protecting Molly. While I understand her decision choices, I did find it frustrating that she didn’t think to do the obvious thing, which was to ask an adult for help. Cameron even sets up several adults to whom CJ could have reached out to, so I felt the plot was a little overwrought for the sake of drama. However, I really don’t think that it’s going to impact or even be noticeable to young readers, so take it with a grain of salt.
Also, there are a moments when CJ's mom actually abuses the dog. It's unintentional - it comes from a place of pure cluelessness, verses anything else - but CJ doesn't actually learn about it, and only deals with the repercussions. It seemed a little too convenient.
All in all, I would definitely recommend Molly’s Story, but with some pointed reference to the issue areas.