When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan


Meet the a-mayonnaise-ing Dylan Mint.

He’s sixteen and he’s got Tourette’s.

His life is a constant fight to keep the bad stuff in – the words that explode out of his mouth, the tics, the growling, howling dog that tries to escape whenever he gets stressed. Plus there’s his mum, who buys him cheapo clothes from Primark and keeps crying. And his dad, who’s away in the army and could get wiped out by a sniper any minute.

A routine visit to the hospital turns his life topsy-turvy. Dylan discovers that he’s going to die next March. It’s only August, but still – he has THINGS TO DO. So he makes a list – and sets out to make his wishes come true…


Cool Things To Do Before I Cack It

Number One: Have real sexual intercourse with a girl (preferably Michelle Malloy and definitely NOT on a train or any other mode of transport . . . if it’s possible at her house).

Number Two: Fight heaven and earth, tooth and nail, dungeons and dragons that people stop slagging my mate Amir because he smells like a big pot of curry. And, help him find a new best bud.

Number Three: Get dad back from the war before . . . you-know-what . . . happens.

This book, this story had me howling out loud with laughter one minute and biting my lip trying to keep tears from running down my face – I was not crying ok? I, well, I was in a room with a lot of things that got into my eyes!

I do not know a lot about Tourette’s – when I was a child I had heard about it, it went around the school a few times about how there was this thing that made you swear and you did not get into trouble for it because you were ill.

Still not being able to stop swearing – it sounds pretty amusing, when you are 12.

I had never seen a person with Tourette’s until I saw a couple of episodes of Big Brother a few years ago, the one that had the one guy that had it and was on the show to raise the profile of Tourette’s sufferers. I watched him swearing and twitching while interacting with the other housemates and suddenly the 12 year old me felt ashamed of laughing about it.

When Phil Earle recommended When Mr Dog Bites and sent me a copy I knew I had to read it, I had to as I was cheeky enough to ask for a copy as he had praised it on twitter (and when an author that I enjoy recommends a book that they have not written I know I have to give it a try!*

It is a novel that may introduce the reader into the world of people with special needs; it gives a very human voice to people with Tourette’s, beyond the caricature that many people expect when they hear about the syndrome.

*Phil’s actual words to me about the book were: “it has heart!” and he is right!

I urge you to buy the book, put it in your teen collections – teenagers will love it (adults will too), and not just because (as the strapline says) it is “a story about life, death, love sex and swearing” It is that but it is so much more!

LANGUAGE WARNING: When Mr Dog Bites contains strong language and terms that, if taken out of context, may be considered racist.

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation