|A Review of: Feed My Dear Dogs
by W.P. Kinsella
I've been holding this book for months, I guess in the hope that it would become easier to read. I tried several times but got bogged down in the first few pages. It is an impressionistic fictional memoir of the childhood of five precocious children in the Weiss family. The narrator, Jem, is the same as in Richler's earlier book, Sister Crazy-only this time the work is not nearly as interesting. The detail is formidable: subjects covered range from science to mathematics to explorers to religion. Here are five children of a Jewish father and an Irish mother attending a Catholic school. The parallels between this family and J.D. Salinger's Glass family appear intentional, even the double 's' ending of the last name, although there are seven precocious children in the Glass family. It is a dangerous job to try to imitate the work of a master, particularly the lesser work of a master. While Nine Stories, and The Catcher in the Rye, are masterpieces, the later work like Franny and Zooey, of which this is most reminiscent, is dryer, more esoteric and less humorous. The main problem is that virtually nothing happens, and no matter how virtuous the writing, and it is very good, the reader must care about the characters, and they must be put at some serious risk in order for the reader to feel empathy.