Dogs Dance


Jim Liberty has a reputation, and it isn’t a good one. It’s mostly based on the fact that he does absolutely nothing to defend himself, nothing to make his own life better, and nothing to make anyone respect him. A series of events occur that finally push him to fight back—with deadly consequences. Anna is not quite right. At 12 years old, she acts 7 or 8. The only witness to the crime Jim is accused of committing, and indeed, the only friend Jim has, she wants to help, even if he will have none of it. With the sheriff and largest landowner aiming for his death, Anna is the only thing in the way—and no one realizes it, except Jim.


This is told from Anna’s limited view. To “see” the events from a “touched” mind is an eye-opening, and occasionally frustrating, experience. Readers will be fully aware that more to the story is going on, but with such a POV, the more is just always out of reach. Adults talk over her head and she speaks in broken, often nonsensical sentences, but somehow, it all works, and works well. She is very intelligent, to the point where Jim notices. Where it falls apart is the insane, throw-the-book-across-the-room, didn’t-see-that-ending-coming, plot twist mere chapters before the end.  While many questions are answered, it takes away from Anna and her narration of the story. Up to that point, however, the story never feels stilted, and once readers settle into watching a love stricken child, a whole world of belief and behavior opens.


Julie York