Wednesday, May 19, 2010

When Dogs Cry by Markus Zusak

Release Date (Australia):
1 November 2001; reprinted 1 May 2010.
Rating: 7.5/10

“You’re a bit of a lonely bastard, aren’t you?” said Rube.
“Yeah,” I answered, “I guess I am.”
But Cameron Wolfe is hungry.
He’s sick of being the filthy, torn, half-smiling, half-scowling underdog.
He’s finally met a girl.
He’s got words in his spirit.
And now he’s out to prove there’s nothing more beautiful than an underdog who’s willing to stand up.

I am a huge fan of The Book Thief and, especially, The Messenger by Markus Zusak. I haven’t read The Underdog or Fighting Ruben Wolfe, both of which feature the family of main characters in When Dogs Cry. However, I found it didn’t matter at all and it is very much a stand-alone novel.

I love the stories that Markus Zusak creates; I like to see the ‘underdog’ stand up and be counted as incredible, as so many of them are. Cameron’s story is one of bravery and family, love and acceptance, and the passage from youth to adulthood. Early in the book, Cameron is seen as the ‘loser’ of his family, but with some guidance from Octavia Ash, he begins to see himelf in a new way and accept that he can be ‘someone’, especially through his ability to write. Each chapter ends with a snippet of Cameron’s writing and the reader receives a chance to see his ‘words’.

The main thing I fall in love with in Markus Zusak’s stories is the poetic beauty of the language he uses to write them. I always admire writers that can use language in such a beautiful and stunning way, yet have it be so simple at the same time.

Silence bent down then, just for a moment, and whispered to each of us.

Although When Dogs Cry is a book intended for young adults, I would recommend it to anyone from age 14 to late 20s that appreciates a story of the underdog gaining the strength to rise up written through magnificent use of the English language.

I think now, of the edges of words, the loyalty of blood, the music of girls, the hands of brothers, and of hungry dogs that howl through the night.


  1. I'm so glad you reviewed this! I've been curious to know what it is like :)

  2. Oh my god, my first comment! haha. I need to write a review for the store, I'll do that on Sunday :) It was really good, I loved it.