A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World: Loyalty Epitomized

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher

Madeleine’s Score: Enjoyed it—would read it again
(4/5 cool points)

“…if you steal my dog, you can at least expect me to come after you. If we’re not loyal to the things we love, what’s the point?”

At the heart of this powerful story is its simple premise. Someone stole Griz’s dog, Jess; Griz is going to get her back. And so Griz embarks on a journey far from home, facing dangers from both nature and humanity, in pursuit of man’s best friend. Going on this journey with Griz is Jess’s brother, Jip, who provides incredible support and shows loyalty rivaled only by Griz’s.

As for the larger scope of this story, the world has been forever changed by the Gelding, a nonspecific event that caused the vast majority of humans to become sterile a long time ago. Approximately 0.0001% of the world’s population escaped the Gelding and can still procreate. Griz, whose journal entries comprise A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World, calls it a “soft apocalypse.” Mystery as to the exact circumstances of the end of the world abound, and as Griz goes after Jess, we’re allowed glimpses into the past. But what drives the narrative forward more than anything else is Griz’s desperate pursuit of Jess.

“Of all the animals that travelled the long road through the ages with us, dogs always walked closest.”

It’s this truth that made this book hit me in the feels. As someone who adores dogs, I felt both panicked and fired-up as I read. Yes! Get your dog back, Griz! If you love doggos like me, you might be wondering if this book will break your heart—does a dog die? I won’t spoil that for you, but if you’d like to know the answer before you invest emotionally, check out this article on DoesTheDogDie.com.

For those used to action-packed pacing, this book may be a bit slow. But if you enjoy subtlety and a long burn of suspense, you’ll savor every page. Regarding writing style, C.A. Fletcher’s prose is quite lovely. Not overly complex, but poetic nonetheless, and the imagery he paints is compelling. It’s been over a year since I read A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World, but specific images are still lodged in my mind. The villainous thief, Brand, and his wild red hair. The badass John Dark and her history with the computer-obsessed Freemen, which really could take up an entire novel on its own that I would happily read. And about a dozen other things and people Griz encounters—vignettes that still strike me out of the blue months after finishing the book.

Finally, as you’ll see in a comment from the author on the inside cover, there’s a big twist in this story. The author pleads with the reader to keep this twist a secret to avoid spoiling it for others. I have no intention of spoiling anything, but know that, even now, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this big twist. I’m conflicted, to say the least. So if you’ve read A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World and have thoughts to share, please reach out—I’d love to chat about it.

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