Parents' Guide to

When Mr. Dog Bites

By Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Surprisingly hilarious book about teen with Tourette's.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 1 parent review

age 14+

Memorable story

After a while you get over the use of bad language when reading the story, but it's use is appropriate as that's what you get with Tourette's. Every now and then the language does pull you up short. And so it should. Dylan is a lovely character and you really feel for him and his friend Amir. The story takes place in Glasgow, on a tough estate, with the mix of people you would find there and feels very realistic. We are appalled, along with Dylan, at the racial prejudice that Amir suffers. Dylan is at the hospital with his mum and overhears the doctor talk to his mother about life as they know it changing forever in March. Dylan takes this to mean that he is going to die in March and creates a 'Cool things to do before I cack it' list. This includes having sex with a girl and finding a new 'best bud' for his friend Amir. Although the story contains a lot of sexual references, we are talking about 16 year old boys here, the extreme use of language is mostly used in Dylan's outbursts, that he is trying desperately to control and feels very embarrassed about. The boys still have an air of naivety and innocence about the world around them, but they are made more aware through the story. Dylan and Amir have a definite moral code, where friendship and loyalty reign supreme. I loved the characters, the humour and the story.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (2 ):

The author manages to make the protagonist -- and several other characters -- both memorable misfits and totally empathetic. WHEN MR. DOG BITES deals with some serious issues, including kids with some intense mental and physical challenges. But Dylan's offbeat and honest outlook on the world -- often told in dialogue or through Cockney rhyming slang and other expressions -- makes this a surprisingly fast-paced and funny read. Readers will be both cringing and laughing as poor Dylan asks out Michelle, for example, all the while apologizing for the names he's calling her (she, meanwhile, has oppositional defiant disorder, making her reaction rather hostile).

Readers certainly will be rooting for Dylan, even while they suspect he doesn't have exactly the right read on what's going on around him.

Book Details

  • Author: Brian Conaghan
  • Genre: Coming of Age
  • Topics: Friendship , High School
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: June 10, 2014
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
  • Number of pages: 368
  • Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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