3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I marked this book with post-it's
"Some say deep sleep is dreamless and that we dream only in the moments before awakening, experiencing during seconds the imagined occurances of minutes or hours. Others have surmised that dreaming is continuous as long as we are asleep, just as sensation and experience must needs continue while we are awake; but that we recall--when we recall at all--only those...
Published on Feb. 20 2003 by A. McClellan
3.0 out of 5 stars not necessarily enjoyable, but important
This may not be an enjoyable book, but it's an important book. It is important because it touches on the horror of animal experimentation, which so contrasts with Western culture's professed love for domesticated animals. If you don't already boycott animal-testing companies, it will make you want to check the labels on all your products. You will want to write letters...
Published on May 28 2003 by Shannon B Davis
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I marked this book with post-it's,
This review is from: Plague Dogs (Mass Market Paperback)"Some say deep sleep is dreamless and that we dream only in the moments before awakening, experiencing during seconds the imagined occurances of minutes or hours. Others have surmised that dreaming is continuous as long as we are asleep, just as sensation and experience must needs continue while we are awake; but that we recall--when we recall at all--only those margins and fragments which concluded the whole range of our imagination during sleep; as though one who at night was able to walk alive through the depths of the sea, upon his return could only remember only those light-filtering, green-lit slopes up which he had clambered back at last to the sands of morning."
This is just a touch of the poetic writing that Richard Adams uses to convey this beautiful story of two dogs. It is also a story about society. This is not an easy read. The reasons that this book was more difficult for me was because of the dialect that one of the dogs spoke with and also the British terms (new to me i.e. Lorry =vehicle, dust bins =trash bins), and the text is so rich it takes a slower read to digest it. I had to look up a few words, so reading this book expanded my vocabulary. Although the reading was slower, it was worth it. Very worth it. Once I was 1/2 way through I was thanking myself for keeping on, it was paying off. And by the end - I was very into it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant--with a wonderfully constructed ending,
This review is from: Plague Dogs (Mass Market Paperback)"The Plague Dogs" isn't nearly as accessible as "Watership Down" & it's not a children's book. Don't start reading Adams with this book--start with "Watership Down." ... Some of the dialect (especially that of the Tod) will be very difficult for American readers (though it was slightly toned down for American editions) & it's perhaps hard to follow if you've never heard the real thing, but even it is brilliant. I have heard the real thing & Adams captures it perfectly. It works best if you read it quickly. ... Adams does some wonderful experimentation with the writing in the book, experimentation that draws on a vast literary heritage & demonstrates very wide reading, experimentation that is itself a tribute to his literary forefathers. ... The characters, especially the canine ones, are very well-drawn (I'm tempted to call my next dog Rowf). ... Good plot twists, evocative geographical description, a singularly haunting passage about a ghost, great description of snow. ... The animal experimentation theme is very well done, not overstated (all of the experiments Adams described were real) & while it's obvious where Adams stands, he has the guts to balance the debate with an unexpected portrait of a dying child. ... The true brilliance of this book lies in the ending, which is just an absolute work of art, drawing together narrative strings, switching narrative styles, switching points of view, speeding up & slowing down (& even incorporating the author's tribute to his own friends without becoming excessively idiosyncratic) until it becomes positively lyrical. The book is worth it for the ending alone ... & Adams is a master of making the incredible credible so we willingly suspend disbelief ... maybe because Rowf & Snitter are so well portrayed we sorely want them to live. Not an easy read, but SO good.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good ...,
This review is from: Plague Dogs (Paperback)I found the book very slow. Infact I stop reading it altoghter. I thought it was another Watership Down. Dont get me wrong I did enjoy it once I got done reading the book. The books starts out slow but is slowly begins to pick up. The book is well set in which he gives wonderful descriptions of places, smells, (hey, half the plants and flowers I have never heard of)and locations. Like many of his books this one deals with man vs nature. The heros two dogs are living off their wits. One is a dreamer who feels that there is love in every mans heart and the other is truth, who knows what man is capable of doing. This book is well worth the time and the read.
3.0 out of 5 stars not necessarily enjoyable, but important,
This review is from: Plague Dogs (Mass Market Paperback)This may not be an enjoyable book, but it's an important book. It is important because it touches on the horror of animal experimentation, which so contrasts with Western culture's professed love for domesticated animals. If you don't already boycott animal-testing companies, it will make you want to check the labels on all your products. You will want to write letters to your congresspeople after reading this book, and you will be glad that many corporations already have taken heed and ceased animal testing.
It is difficult read for a number of reasons. The poetic writing style can make it confusing as to whose mind we are hearing, and the fact that one of the characters is quite mad can also add to the confusion. Add to that the dialect used by the characters, and you will have to concentrate to understand what is being expressed.
The first half of the book is far more exciting and interesting than the second half, but it is important to stick it out to read the end.
One thing that bothered me was the author's self-referentialism. He actually refers to himself and the book 'Watership Down' in the third person. And at another point, he breaks the scene to start speaking frankly to the audience as the author. For this reason, Plague Dogs seemed amateurish next to his other works. Because of its important message, I wish it could have been a better book.
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling but corny,
This review is from: Plague Dogs (Mass Market Paperback)In all likelihood, you'll already be familiar with Watership Down when you first hear of Plague Dogs. It's a gripping tale of characters you can indeed care about-- two dogs who escape captivity, and a fox they meet (mainly). The three suffer trials and uncertainties, at turns frank, touching, or even spooky. A tale of survival. There's a strong secondary plot involving various humans, too, that is quite compelling.
Adams added a number of relatively silly things into the formula this time around, however. Probably he *indended* for these things to be rather heavy-handed and goofy, but that they were deliberate doesn't prevent them from interfering with one's enjoyment of the book. Adams' awkward and inconsistent transcription of thick scottish accents plagues much of the book. There's a reason they tell you to avoid this in fiction writing 101!
His villains, too, are rather unconvincing-- on one hand, the book as a whole tries to take itself rather seriously as social commentary. On the other, the villains' motives are intentionally made into utter caricatures.
I would scorn a lesser story for silly decisions of the author. Nevertheless, it's a great adventure, with real, and moving, character development. I unhesitatingly give it four stars.
4.0 out of 5 stars Difficult and disturbing, but worth it,
This review is from: Plague Dogs (Mass Market Paperback)Most people who pick up this book, I am sure, will already be inclined to agree with Richard Adams on the subject of animal experimentation. I don't want to use this review as a debating piece, but I feel compelled to respond to a couple of the comments made by other readers on these pages. Firstly, while the story doesn't focus on medical research, Mr Adams has made quite clear over the years that the novel is intended to be a criticism of ALL animal experimentation. I believe that searching for a cure to human diseases by torturing and killing millions of animals every year is NOT acceptable morally, aside from the fact that, due to our vastly different genetics, animal research is only ever of limited use. And it may interest one particular reviewer to know that when penicillin was first tested on rats, it killed them (it is poisonous to rodents) so we do not owe the discovery of antibiotics to vivisection. Okay, lecture over. The novel is a very difficult read if you are an animal lover or have any degree of compassion in your heart; the descriptions of the lab in the first thirty pages are unbearable, and still haunt me to this day. Other reviewers have commented on the slow nature of the story - this is true, there are long sections of descriptive prose where little actually happens, so if you like an incident-packed read you're probably well advised to stay away. Once the hunt for the dogs gets underway, the tension does mount and the final third of the book becomes very exciting indeed. Some may feel the positive ending detracts from the message, but personally I found it something of a relief - after all, there ARE still kind-hearted humans in the world! The dialects are difficult - I'm British, but I suspect most of us found the Tod's dialogue as confusing as American readers did (if it helps, I found that reading the Tod's speeches aloud, phonetically, made them easier to comprehend). It isn't quite as good as Watership Down - which Mr Adams has never equalled in my opinion - and it certainly isn't a 'fun' read, but it's intentions are the best and, when it gets going, it WILL keep you hooked.
5.0 out of 5 stars Patience will be rewarded,
By A Customer
This review is from: Plague Dogs (Mass Market Paperback)This book is considered one of Adams' weaker works. Readers will find it maddeningly moralistic, pompus and self important. It follows the intrepid adventures of two dogs who have escaped from an animal research station in the Lake Country, U.K.
But listen - I nearly threw this book across the room a half dozen times when reading it. I've seen the film, loved that, and I was determined to get through the muddy waters of the book. It was worth it. The last forty-some pages of this book are pure genius, absolutely riveting narrative. If you can make it through to the end, you will be rewarded with edge of your seat, nail biting tension. John Grisham has got nothing on this guy.
In short, read this book. READ IT! Do not skip to the end. Be prepared to hate it. I did. Act Three will leave you breathless, and isn't it all the more worthwhile when you've had to work to get to the end? I think so. Thank you, Richard Adams!
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the read,
This review is from: Plague Dogs (Mass Market Paperback)I just recently finished this book and can say with much sincerety that Adams has created a wonderful piece of work in "The Plague Dogs." It's true that some of the dialogue is especially tough to get through especially being an American reader, but after a while I found myself going through it with a fair amount of ease once I was finally used to it. The best part of this book by far has to be the characters of Rowf and Snitter whom I found tremendously more interesting than any of the human characters. Their struggles and perception of the reality around them is quite remarkable. As far as how the message was presented I thought it was done quite fairly on both sides of the issue of animal experimentation. Finally, there's the ending which made the entire book worth the read.
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the Time to Read,
This review is from: Plague Dogs (Mass Market Paperback)Being a fan of Watership Down I thought I would continue reading the rest of Richard Adams' books, and I find this one to be just as good as the rest. The basic plot of the story is two dogs escape from an animal experimentation lab in England and roam about the countryside, struggling to live and literally dying to find a new master to live with. They encounter one obstacle after another, whether it be hunger, the weather, or other humans, who believe the dogs are carrying bubonic plague after a young news reporter tries to stir up all of England. The story is full of Adams' views on animal experimentation, politics, and human behavior, yet it does not preach.
Readers new to Richard Adams should probably start out with Watership Down before reading this book; this way you get a better sense of his style and prose. The dialect can be extremely tough at times, and because of some of the descriptions and themes involved should probably only be read by a mature reader. I will also say that there isn't a whole lot of action to it; however, you get attached to these dogs as if they were your own pets. The author develops solid, intriguing characters and a great setting. It is definetley worth the time to read, and you'll jump to your feet at the end.
4.0 out of 5 stars Richard Adams at his quirkiest,
This review is from: Plague Dogs (Mass Market Paperback)Many reviewers here have found this a difficult read and it is that especially if you don't enjoy dialects that aren't your own. It is a very British book and no apologies are necessary for that.
Many have either loved or hated the didactic theme of the book regarding animal experimentation, but it is really about much more than that. The overriding theme of this book is that of the relationship between humans and other animals. Adams is not ranting here. He doesn't offer any facile conclusions other than that life deserves respect.
Like Adams' other works, once you become acquainted with the characters, the narrative is compelling in the extreme and all the characters are kept interesting and multi-dimensional. The work depends on your caring about the two dogs' fate and here ultimately succeeds. I wasn't moved to tears here, but I did gasp at Adam's sheer narrative audacity towards the end of the book. He pulls out quite a few postmodern stops (and a bit of deus ex machina) but still manages to guide the reader into almost believing, but certainly caring about the ending.
The only aspect of this novel that bothered me was that occasionally the author let his judgmentalism peep through an otherwise fair-minded narrative. For example, at times he feels it necessary to denigrate all anti-establishment radical types while sanctifying "honest" establishment types such as soldiers and christians in order to defuse criticism his arguably radically anti-establishment point of view regarding animal experimentation. This struck me as a sour note in an otherwise high-minded and otherwise successful satirical narrative, though you can tell that his natural impulse is not to rely on one-dimensional characterisations
Overall, I would rate this book's success slightly below that of Watership Down and Shardik among the works by Adams that I have had the pleasure to read, but I highly recommend it nevertheless.
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Plague Dogs by Richard Adams (Mass Market Paperback - Feb. 12 1986)
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