Jeremy Strong on a book whose beguiling simplicity masks big emotions…
The book I have chosen is peculiarly appropriate. Sharon Creech’s Love That Dog is connected to my book, The Hundred-Mile-An-Hour Dog, in a special way. My character Streaker was based on two real dogs, both owned by a friend, Jane. I took them for a walk and they promptly vanished at high speed. Unfortunately they didn’t know their names, nor what ‘stop!’ or ‘come back!’ mean. The idea for Streaker was born.
A few years later, Jane sent me a book – Love That Dog. I read it. I gave it to my wife to read. We gave it to our children to read. We bought multiple copies and posted them to friends. ‘You have to read this,’ we told them. ‘Now.’ It’s that kind of book.
I so wish I had written it myself! I love its beguiling simplicity; a simplicity that masks a story full of big emotions so true to the spirit of Jack and boys like him. The way in which it is written – half poem, half novel – is absolutely right for the story. It’s a beautiful story, beautifully told – a perfect, small jewel. I’m not ashamed to admit that it made a few tears well up.
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech is published by Bloomsbury (0 7475 5616 4, £9.99 hbk, 0 7475 5749 7, £4.99 pbk, 0 7475 6403 5, £8.99 book and tape). Jeremy Strong’s latest book is Return of the Hundred-Mile-An-Hour Dog, published by Puffin (0 14 131843 0, £3.99 pbk).