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Walkin' the Dog (G K Hall Large Print Book Series) [Hardcover]

Walter Mosley
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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5.0 out of 5 stars TO BE A POOR BLACK EX-CON IN SOUTH CENTRAL L. A. April 6 2004
Format:Hardcover
The dozen interconnected short stories in Walter Moseley's _WALKIN' THE DOG_ do a lot more than just describe several incidents in the life of his protagonist, Socrates Fortlow.
Socrates, as many of the readers of this review probably already know, is an ex-convict who was convicted of murder(evidently a crime of passion -- his wife was in bed with his "best friend"), served his time, and is now trying to live out his life working an honest job as a grocery bagger, while serving as a mentor for a teen aged boy, and lovingly caring for his two legged dog, "Killer."
A pervasive problem is that too many people, including a racist cop or two, just won't leave him or his conscience alone. One very bad cop, in particular, has brutalized, raped, and murdered defenseless black victims. In addressing this, Socrates does NOT resort to violence, but, wearing a sandwich board listing the rogue cops acts of violence, walks up and down across the street from a police station. When people begin to take notice of him, the police order him to move. He refuses because he believes his actions are legal. When the police try to remove him from the street using excess physical force a crowd including TV reporters and cameras shows up and a riot ensues. Although Socrates is jailed and manhandled, he is released in three days With apologies from the mayor and police chief, and the rogue cop is let go. In line with his personal philosophy, Socrates, having accomplished his self appointed mission, gives no interviews and does his best to disappear "into the woodwork."
This episode is one of the 12 linked short stories in Mosely's novel.
Socrates, like his namesake, is a bit of a philosopher, but the kind who has more questions than answers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Moral Message April 18 2002
By A. Ross
Format:Hardcover
A dozen linked episodes form the return of Socrates Fortlow, the 60ish ex-con who first appeared in Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned. Of course, when the main character is named Socrates, you shouldn't be surprised when his story turns out to be a metaphor. Socrates is a man whose daily life is suffused with his past (he spent 27 years in jail for murdering two friends), and is engaged in a constant struggles break free of that past and try and live somewhat normally in the Watts ghetto he calls home. He's cautious and tentative about new opportunities and options before him, seeing traps and pitfalls in every deviation from his simple, spartan life. It's not difficult to see how Mosley is using Socrates to embody disenfranchised black men everywhere and give voice to their (and his) own inner conflicts as black men in contemporary society.
Central to this is angerï¿a theme that pervades not only Socrates' life, but that of those around him. Throughout the book, Socrates bubbles with an undefined rage at his surroundings, and ultimately he must find some way to accommodate that rage without letting it consume him. Even so, the good side of Socrates is always plainly evident: he's a father figure to a young boy, cares for his two-legged dog, and saves the life of a drunk. That's not to say that he's a "good" person, because he has killed people, but he is a man that's trying to do good things with life despite his past and despite the turmoil within him. Through his interactions with a neighborhood discussion group (a somewhat clumsy device) and a self-styled revolutionary, Socrates comes to discover that he has a right to be angry, but it's how that anger is channeled that will decide his fate.
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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Mr. Mosley has written a brilliant book that explores the concept that freedom begins and ends in the mind. The physical world may put hand cuffs or handicaps on you, but you choose how you respond to those limitations. The roads you choose not to take limit your freedom far more than what anyone else will do to you. This is a timeless novel that will probably be considered a classic in the future. I encourage everyone to read it. You have much to gain.
Socrates Fortlow is an ex-con who is just trying to survive. His dreams are haunted by memories of his small cell and the murder he committed that placed him there. The book opens to find him operating like a future butterfly in its cocoon. He is constrained by his violent feelings, his distrust of progress and good fortune, and his discomfort with people. Like many who have sinned (all of us), he has many good qualities. He is mentoring a teenager he works with, will do more than his share of the work required, quietly endures mistreatment by white people, and cares for a badly handicapped dog who has only two legs. His great strengths are that he is interested in controlling his own actions (rather than just striking out in blind anger) and making the best moral choice (taking full responsibility for his actions).
Throughout the story, Socrates develops and finally emerges from his cocoon, and begins to seek out new opportunities and experiences. As a result, he grows as a person and as a moral force. Gradually, he begins to lose the mental bonds that hold him back from fulfilling his mighty potential.
The book is filled with much violence, hatred, and inhumanity. That backdrop will disturb many readers.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting and thought-provoking
Mosley draws you in with his colorful and lovable character, Socrates Fortlow and his portrait of a world I didn't know about before. Read more
Published on Jan. 6 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Novel
Now I know why I listed Walter Mosley as my favorite person. His books are always riveting. I never thought I would like a character as much as I love Easy Rawlins and Mouse. Read more
Published on April 15 2002 by Rosa
5.0 out of 5 stars Walkin' the Dog
I was glad to see Walter Mosley return to Socartes Fortlow after his novel "Blue Light" which I couldn't get into. Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2001 by Ricky N.
4.0 out of 5 stars Post-Modern Socrates
Socrates Fortlow returns in Walter Mosley's second collection of stories about the ex-con trying to find his place and beliefs in a radically changed world now that he's out of... Read more
Published on Dec 30 2000 by James A. Allio
5.0 out of 5 stars Another thoughtful, artful book from Mosley
I bought this book when it was first released, but I shelved it until last week. This book was nothing short of magnificent. Read more
Published on Oct. 19 2000 by EarlRandy
5.0 out of 5 stars Excllent storyline and street philosophy
After residing as a guest of the State of Indiana for half of his life, sexagenarian Socrates Fortlow has gone straight for the past decade, living in Los Angeles. Read more
Published on Sept. 29 2000 by Harriet Klausner
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm a Fan of Walter Mosley's
...and his "Walkin' The Dog" sequel to "Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned" confirms it. Mr. Read more
Published on Aug. 29 2000 by S. Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Mosley
Walter Mosley's black, 60ish, ex-convict Socrates Fortlow is a unique hero. To start with, there's his stature: he's an enormous, powerful man with "killer hands" that... Read more
Published on Aug. 9 2000 by Lev Raphael
5.0 out of 5 stars An original character from a powerful writer
Socrates Fortlow is one of the great creations in American fiction. A man still living out his sentence even though he's been out of prison nine years, he struggles to be a good... Read more
Published on April 19 2000 by J Scott Morrison
1.0 out of 5 stars So What?
I've read 2 other Walter Mosley's and that's it for me. He's too sloooow and most of all... empty. He's character are not very interesting and the stories always lag and peter... Read more
Published on March 1 2000
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