Dogland: It's Not Like Any Tourist Attraction You Can Imagine

Dogland: It's Not Like Any Tourist Attraction You Can Imagine

by Will Shetterly
     
 

The Nix family has arrived.

And Latchahie County will never be the same.

In an effort at improving his family's lot, the Nixes have moved to rural Florida to open Dogland: a combination zoo, restaurant and motel. But it isn't long before Nix and his clan of eccentric supporters run afoul of unsympathetic locals.

The problem? Luke Nix has hired Ethorne

…  See more details below

Overview

The Nix family has arrived.

And Latchahie County will never be the same.

In an effort at improving his family's lot, the Nixes have moved to rural Florida to open Dogland: a combination zoo, restaurant and motel. But it isn't long before Nix and his clan of eccentric supporters run afoul of unsympathetic locals.

The problem? Luke Nix has hired Ethorne Hawkins.

Hawkins is black. And it's 1959.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A deceptively simple story, rich with complex characters and timeless themes. This novel will charm enthusiasts of contemporary fantasy."—Publishers Weekly

A "compelling, absorbing, hard-edged work, lit by glimpses of another, more fantastic reality: reminiscent of top-notch Orson Scott Card, child-centered but tackling adult themes fearlessly and with great charm."--Kirkus Reviews

VOYA - Roxy Eckstrom
What is real? What is fantasy? When you view the world through the eyes of a four-year-old is there much difference? Time blurs the distinctions between the two as Christopher Nix tells his story, rich with memories both real and dreamed, of life from 1959 to the early '60s. Chris is four when his parents, Luke and Susan, move the family to central Florida. Luke's dream, a tourist attraction featuring all the dog breeds recognized by the AKC, is coming true in Dogland. But the Nix family is different from neighboring families. The Nixes are from Minnesota, where a man's pay depends on how hard he works, not the color of his skin. When Luke hires Ethorne Hawkins and pays him a white man's wages, the move does not sit well with some of the locals. Racial tensions of the time ebb and flow throughout the book, culminating in a KKK attack on Dogland and the Nixes, sharply delineating the contrast between their liberalism and the bigotry of the town. Shetterly paints a vivid portrait of a narrow piece of the rural south and the people who live there, while keeping Dogland true to a child's perspective. The turmoil of the time is set against everyday incidents such as learning to swim, manatees, feeding the dogs, and riding the school bus. The importance of racial incidents, sexual harassment, and suicides are colored by the egocentricity and naivet� of a child. The idyllic life Chris recalls at Dogland is full of symbolism, from the spring at the Fountain of Youth motel to the new sprout growing out of the ashes of the Heart Tree. I would recommend this modern fantasy for those high schoolers, who with maturity, can read behind the words and be transported back to cracker Florida. VOYA Codes: 4Q 2P S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
Kirkus Reviews
Shetterly makes the transition from young adult (Elsewhere, 1991, etc.) to adult fantasy with assurance and aplomb. In 1959, Luke and Susan Nix travel with their family—four-year-old Chris, whose narrative is informed by hindsight; Little Bit, three; and Digger, two—to Dickison, Florida, to set up a tourist attraction: Dogland, a sort of canine zoo displaying dozens of different breeds of dog, along with a restaurant and gift shop. Their supportive neighbors include Maggie DeLyon, the Seminole owner of the Fountain of Youth motel, realtor Artie Drake, and the old black cook, Ethorne Hawkins, soon hired by Luke along with Ethorne's equally hardworking family, Mayella, James, and college boy Seth. Some locals resent Luke's color-blind approach, while others come to accept it. As the years pass, and new federal laws begin to bite, Luke writes to the local newspaper supporting integration and the banning of prayer in schools. Waitress Francine rejects her violent, bigoted husband, Cal, and runs off with James; attempting to stop them, Cal calls out the Klan, only to be outwitted by Luke and Ethorne. Dogland, meanwhile, receives a steady stream of visitors, many of whom may not be entirely what they seem. John Hawkins, a descendant of the original plantation owner, assisted by lawyer Nick Lumiere, opens a rival attraction, a pirate theme park, then tries to buy Luke out. Another neighbor, Gideon Shale, who serves hamburgers and Jesus, blows his brains out after Lumiere taunts him. Next, Maggie's Fountain of Youth succumbs to the Hawkins-Lumiere axis. Finally, when the Klan makes an all-out effort to run Luke off and defeat Ethorne, Chris calmly lets loose the dogs.

Compelling, absorbing, hard-edged work, lit by glimpses of another, more fantastic reality: reminiscent of top-notch Orson Scott Card, child-centered but tackling adult themes fearlessly and with great charm.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780765342331
Publisher:
Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
Publication date:
04/28/2002
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
448
Product dimensions:
5.24(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.21(d)
Age Range:
10 - 15 Years

Meet the Author

Will Shetterly lives in Bisbee, Arizona, with his beloved wife, Emma Bull, and his tolerated cat, Buddha. (They didn't name him. They don't know who Buddha fooled into thinking he was enlightened.) He writes novels, screenplays, short stories, and comic books. He's proudest of Dogland-your mileage may vary. He thinks his two best short stories are "The Princess Who Kicked Butt" and "Dream Catcher."

In 1994, he ran for Governor of Minnesota and finished third in a field of six. It really isn't worth watching Toxic Zombies to see his very brief appearance in a very bad movie.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >