Why Dogs Chase Cars : Tales of a Beleaguered Boyhood

by George Singleton | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1565124049 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingkuducoffeewing of Charleston, South Carolina USA on 4/17/2006
Buy from one of these Booksellers:
Amazon.com | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT | Bol.com
3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingbookczukwing from Charleston, South Carolina USA on Sunday, August 13, 2006
As a boy growing up in the tiny backwater town of Forty-Five, South Carolina, all Mendal Dawes wants is out. It's not just his hometown that's hopeless. Mendal's father is just as bad. He buries stuff in the backyard--fake toxic barrels, imitation Burma Shave signs (Bird on a Wire, Bird on a Perch, Fly toward Heaven, First Baptist Church), yardstick collections. He calls Mendal "Fuzznuts." He makes him recite Marx and Durkheim daily and take terrible unpaid jobs helping out at nursing homes and tutoring little Shirley Ebo in reading.

This funky, sometimes outrageous, and always very human book is about how the only son of a weirdo learns what a wizard his father really was--after it's too late. On the way to witnessing that understanding, we get to watch this duo's precarious relationship in a place with "a gene pool so shallow that it wouldn't take a Dr. Scholl's insert to keep one's soles dry."

To be consistently funny is a great gift, but to be funny and cynical and empathetic all at the same time is George Singleton's special gift. As Candler Hunt of Olsson's Books and Records, Washington D.C., has said, "This is not your mother's Southern fiction."

Journal Entry 2 by wingbookczukwing from Charleston, South Carolina USA on Monday, August 14, 2006
A while back, I heard an interview with George Singleton on the radio, reading from his book The Halk-Mammals of Dixie. The clip was so funny, that I rushed out and bought the book (which is worth the purchase price for the title alone!)

When this book fell into my hands, I didn't realize at first it was the same author, until I read the blurb on the back cover. This book is a collection of stories, which flow together quite nicely, and evoke so clearly the quirkiness of some of our small southern towns. Maybe it takes a certain type of Southerner to appreciate this fully, but I think that 'most anyone could.

The stories all are told by Mendal Dawes, who is raised by his eccentric (some might say drunken or plain out loony-tunes) dad after his mother skipped town . Mendal's greatest desire is to escape from his hometown of Forty-Five SC. The stories take the reader through Mendal's childhood there, where his father buries stuff (ie fake Burma shave signs advertising a Baptist church, yard sticks in preparation for the conversion to the metric system, and other random objects) in their backyard, creates a fake toxic waste dump nearby to stymie future land developers, makes Mendal recite Marx and Durkheim, and dreams up scads of other oddball plots and schemes. Mendal is periodically aided and abetted by his friend Compton (also motherless, whose father is Mendal's dad's drinking buddy) and Shirley Ebo ('the only black girl preintegration at Forty-Five Elementary'). One thing for sure...I'll never look at Chinese Handcuffs in the same way.

And why do dogs chase cars? "They can't form a noose without opposable thumbs. They don't know how to turn on the gas in the kitchen. It's impossible for them to slit their wrists. They don't have trigger fingers." But ultimately, maybe it's because, like Mendal, they just want to get out of town.

Journal Entry 3 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Saturday, April 21, 2007
received in my goodie bag at the Charleston Convention

Journal Entry 4 by wingAceofHeartswing at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Sunday, August 05, 2012
This is a set of short stories as told by Mendal Dawes. Dawes is growing up in the tiny Southern town of Forty-Five, South Carolina. His father is just plum crazy. He buries things like signs saying they will become valuable. He disguises his yard as a toxic waste dump to discourage development.

Mendal wants out of town but first he gets to do some unpaid jobs like helping out at the nursing home and helping the only black girl in his class to read.

I am not a fan of short stories and these were just plain weird. Maybe this Northerner just doesn't get it.

Journal Entry 5 by wingAceofHeartswing at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, January 16, 2013
mailed to Candy-is-dandy who won this in the Nov YBS swap

Journal Entry 6 by wingcandy-is-dandywing at Great Bardfield, Essex United Kingdom on Friday, January 25, 2013
Arrived safely in a package with 2 other good looking books. Thanks for sending them all this way.

Are you sure you want to delete this item? It cannot be undone.