Publisher: Mariner Books
Pub. Date: 2017
Genres: Memoir, Graphic Novel
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
When Nicole J. Georges was sixteen, she adopted Beija, the shar-pei/corgi mix with a difficult disposition. For the next fifteen, sixteen years, Nicole and Beija live together and fight for each other through depression, heartbreak, and people’s carelessness about dogs’ needs. Nicole learns how to be responsible for and how to care for a pet. In Fetch: How a Bad Dog Brought Me Home, they learn how to deal with each other’s needs.
The title is misleading in that Beija is not a “bad dog” in the author’s mind or the other characters’ minds. Beija is shy and ill-tempered. There also isn’t a real moment where “fetch” is said in the book or vaguely referenced beyond the stated theme in the subtitle.
The black-and-white illustrations are detailed and show off negative emotions well. They show worry, depression, and some dark themes. I think it worked especially well for illustrating Beija.
I liked reading the developing relationship between Nicole and Beija. Beija becomes Nicole’s baby after she adopts her. The trouble she brings forces Nicole to think about her dog as having human feelings and learn to work around them. This book incorporates learning to take of yourself and another living thing, treating dogs with respect, and healing.
I also liked the short interludes of her childhood experiences and the occasional Beija tidbit. These gave greater insight into Nicole’s and Beija’s lives to understand where they are in the story. They show some serious issues that shaped Nicole. But some of the scenes were not placed in the best spots because they did not counteract the pace or the emotion.
If you like heartfelt stories about dogs, this is the book for you. This is a great graphic memoir about the bond between a dog and her human.