Category Archives: Reviews

Mad Dog Moonlight by Pauline Fisk

This story revolves around a young boy who has been found wandering the Welsh countryside, with only his baby brother and his ffon, a walking stick with a mysterious carving on the top, in his arms. He has no memory of where he has come from except for the name that his parents have given him – Mad Dog Moonlight.
Despite being fostered into a loving home (and renamed Ryan Lewis), Mad Dog finds it hard to adjust to his new ‘normal’ lifestyle. As time goes by he comes to realise that he is not the same as other children as the magic of nature surrounds him and follows him wherever he goes. Soon, both the open road and the persistent call of the mysterious and sometimes sinister Plynlimon Mountain, leads Mad Dog on a wild journey into the secrets of his past, which finally provides him with the answer to his biggest question of all….who he really is.
There was something rather familiar about this book and storyline- although I couldn’t quite pin it down. At first I found the plot rather slow but this sped up in the second half of the book which I found much more exciting and purposeful. This obviously is a shame as it might put off readers who aren’t willing to persist through the first half. The concept of the book was quite unusual in terms of the blend of fantasy into reality and ‘everyday life.’ I also liked the fact that Fisk incorporated myth and Celtic history and culture intensely into the plot, however, I felt a little confused about her focus.
Whilst obviously a theme of the story was about self-discovery and maturation, the magical aspect of the story grated a little with the more well-developed aspects of the text such as daily life in the school-place, the experience of a foster-family and even the landscape and weather of Wales! Personally, I think that if this aspect of the story was given more depth or put into a clearer context in relation to the characters then it would make for a more comfortable read. Nevertheless, I did enjoy this book very much and found Fisk’s description of the Welsh landscape particularly beautiful, therefore if I were to rate this book I would still give it a solid 7 out of 10.

Reviewer: JP