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Dog Boy

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,093 Ratings  ·  249 Reviews
A vivid, riveting novel about an abandoned boy who takes up with a pack of feral dogs

Two million children roam the streets in late twentieth-century Moscow. A four-year-old boy named Romochka, abandoned by his mother and uncle, is left to fend for himself. Curious, he follows a stray dog to its home in an abandoned church cellar on the city's outskirts. Romochka makes h
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 18th 2010 by Viking Adult (first published 2009)
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Bark's Book Nonsense
Apr 19, 2010 Bark's Book Nonsense rated it really liked it
Shelves: dogs
I won this through the first reads program here at Goodreads. My first win!

Romochka is a four year old boy who wakes up one morning to find his mother and uncle, along with everyone in his apartment building, gone. After a few days he ventures outside into the cold unforgiving streets of Moscow. The author doesn’t explain where everyone has gone as the story is told from the abandoned child’s perspective but my guess is desperation. The setting appears to be a war torn country.

Cold, hungry and
Mar 22, 2010 Reese rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Reese by: Goodreads Giveaway
Tell me a book is about animals and abandonment, and you don't have to "sell" it to me -- I'll buy it. Fortunately, in the case of Eva Hornung's DOG BOY, I didn't have to buy it; I won it in a Goodreads Giveaway. Unfortunately (or so it originally seemed), winning it meant having to read it, all of it. And I was ready to abandon it after I had read about seventy-five pages. "Everything has a price" -- it's a cliche because it's the truth.

I was feeling as if I were the first-graders' audience at
Review for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2012

This story is about an abandoned 4 year old boy Romochka, left hungry and cold in an apartment in Moscow. After a few days alone, Romochka is unable to tolerate the hunger any longer, and he sets out into the street on Moscow in search of food. On the street he sees a pack of feral dogs where he became curious and slowly approaches them. The mother of the pack is welcoming and lures Romachka into an abandoned warehouse where his is warm, fed
Mike (the Paladin)
Feb 27, 2011 Mike (the Paladin) rated it it was ok
Let me say first that I understand that others will rate this book higher than I...and believe me I'm very close to going all the way to a 1 star rating. NOT because the book isn't well written, it is, and Not because it has nothing to say, because it does...thus a 2 star rating. The low rating is because (as I've said for other books) I've lived pain in my life and "mostly" I don't need it in my literature.

There is a book that I rated 5 stars that concerns a very painful experience and the los
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Romochka is four years old when his mother and uncle never return home to their small apartment building in an outer suburb of Moscow, leaving the little boy to fend for himself. While his mother had always told him not to leave the apartment or the building, hunger and cold soon drives Romochka out to explore. He discovers that the entire building has been abandoned. Everyone has gone. The power is off. The phones are dead. All he has are some clothes and his blanket.

Outside, he ventures farthe
Tara Chevrestt
Oct 12, 2009 Tara Chevrestt rated it really liked it
Shelves: dogs, russia, arc, 2010-release
I have never read a book quite like this in my life. It is both sad, thought evoking, gruesome, horrifying, and educational at once. It will not be for everyone. You must have a very strong interest in dogs in general, dog/human relationships, or pack mentality as well as a very strong stomach to enjoy this novel.

It is about a four year old boy that has been abandoned by both his mother and a drunk, possibly abusive uncle. Finding no kindhearted humans on the Russian streets willing or interest
Jul 03, 2010 Margaret rated it it was amazing
This book is an intelligent page turner and written in the influence of Jungle book and maybe loosely based on a true story of a Russian/Soviet child? Anyway no matter this story will pull you along. Our main character is a throwaway child from a collapsed society and the story begins as he befriends a stray dog who raises him with her puppies. I almost put the book down in the first segment where our protagonist is adapting with the dogs but I'm glad I didn't. After that one very small slow par ...more
Feb 06, 2011 Randy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


You ever see those pictures of people and dogs kissing? I saw a picture of just that yesterday where an attractive, middle aged professional woman was letting a dog lick her mouth in her FB profile picture. Is there psychology behind human and canine relationships...certainly. Do humans substitute pets for children they've never had...surely they do!

I have an old poem I wrote years ago (20 to be exact) while travelling Califnoria
Lizzy Chandler
Feb 16, 2012 Lizzy Chandler rated it it was amazing
Every now and then a book comes along that you know will change your life. You may not know how, exactly, but the reading of it touches you in a way so profound, resonates so deeply inside you, that you recognize at once it will become part of your “soul”, for want of a better word, part of your being.

Eva Hornung’s Dog Boy is such a book for me.

See my discussion here.
Mar 28, 2010 Kaion rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary, world
Inspired by the real story of Ivan Mishukov, Dogboy sidesteps both cheap sentiment and tawdry sensationalism in its tale of an abandoned boy taken in by feral dog clan. Romochka could have easily become one more child among the frost-bitten dead, the shack-city poor, or the bridge-dwelling bomzhi. Instead, the four-year-old followed a golden stray he would come to think of as “Mamochka”— sucked at her teat and curled to sleep among her puppies.

As Romochka becomes a full-fledged member of his new
As soon as I saw this book sitting on a shelf in Waterstones I made a bee line straight for it. I am such a huge animal lover and I am a sucker for books with animals on the cover, in the title or narrated by them. Wolf Totem, Animal Farm, Black Beauty and Life of Pi all feature in my list of favourite books of all time.

Dog Boy is narrated by Ramochka, a four year old boy who lives with his mother and his latest “unlce” in a high-rise appartment block in Moscow. After several days of his mum not
Aug 14, 2013 Elaine rated it really liked it
Shelves: winter-challenge
The story of a young boy Romochka,abandoned and alone, adopted by dogs is an emotional and moving one.
Initially I was repulsed by many of the very graphic descriptions of their lives...hunting,eating,cleaning one another but I'm so glad I didn't give up. This is truly an extraordinary story of the nurturing nature of dogs and the relationship between them and this young boy. I don't feel I can do this book justice in a review and you really need to read it to fully appreciate it.
Sep 04, 2014 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an odd book for a number of reasons, and one of them is that social interaction between humans is totally absent for at least two thirds of the text - which is just how I like it. In the first pages there’s no lengthy introductions to characters with complex background histories and networks of friends and family; there’s not even any dialogue. All we have is a little four-year-old boy lost and alone in Moscow. The world around him is stark and cold and it seems impossible that he will s ...more
Claudia Piña
Este libro narra la historia de un niño ruso que queda huérfano y termina viviendo con una 'familia' de perros ferales.

Desde el primer capítulo fué bastante diferente de lo que esperaba. Está contado desde el punto de vista del niño, en un estilo que me recuerda bastante a Room de Emma Donogue: Al estar contado desde la perspectiva del niño podemos experimentar su historia de una manera muy íntima y comprender su forma de percibir el mundo, lo que implica que en ocasiones uno termine leyendo en
Jul 17, 2010 Ann rated it it was amazing
Set in the outskirts of Moscow at the time of perestroika. Thousands of children are homeless, roaming alone, forming gangs to survive. A four year old boy is abandoned in an apartment his uncle strips of all belongings. He is adopted by a pack of feral dogs who have found shelter in the basement of a ruined church. He lives with them as a fellow dog and finally their pack leader for some four years. He becomes known and feared as Dog Boy. t There are increasingly military sweeps in the Communis ...more
May 10, 2010 Wanda rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Wanda by: Media Review
This is an amazing book, but it is not for the fainthearted.. Stories about feral children are not new and such tellings have been presented in an almost mystical way. But make no mistake, feral children become feral because those who should protect and care for them do not. They are abused, neglected or both. Author, Eva Hornung, spares us no grim detail about the limits of human beings’ inhumane and cruel qualities at the same time juxtaposing those with the warmth, acceptance, and loyalty of ...more
Feb 07, 2011 Jane rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2010
I'd picked up Dog Boy a number of times and having finally read it I'm glad I did. The theme of Dog Boy is the age old one of a boy being raised by dogs..yet this rendering by Eva Hornung was to me in the end an emotional look at the modern world, the harshness of life and the tenderness and caring of the pack.
Romochka is four when he discovers that he is alone in his abandoned apartment building on the outskirts of Moscow. His mother and uncle have disappeared, where they have gone is anyone's
Ilyhana Kennedy
Jun 14, 2012 Ilyhana Kennedy rated it it was amazing
What to say about this book? Omigosh.
Halfway through reading, I had to go Google to establish whether I was reading fantasy or reality, so convincing was the story. and yes, I was both disturbed and saddened to hear that there were millions, yes millions of orphaned homeless children surviving however they could in post communist Russia, and that there were documented cases of children living with dogs, as in the case of Ivan Mishukov.
in a wealthy country like Australia, it's hard to imagine the
Sep 28, 2010 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: australian
What would it really be like to be a human toddler cared for ie. fed, cleaned, protected, dogs and only dogs? Feral dogs at that. Dirty, smelly, at times vicious, at times starving dogs, in the slums of Moscow, during freezing, snow bound winters, menaced by violent street kids and captured by brutal police...

Eva Hornung has written a completely convincing fable about just such an extraordinary occurence, which leaves one caring deeply about the human boys and their dog clan. It's bas
May 29, 2010 Karima rated it really liked it
Based loosely on the story of Ivan Mishukov, a young boy who lived, from age four to age six,with a pack of feral street dogs in post-Communist Moscow. This author did her research about dogs and the dynamics of the pack. Through all of the harshness, and in some instances brutality, depicted here, this is ultimately a love story. (NOT romantic)
If I was wearing socks while reading this, they would have been knocked, no BLOWN, off.

My limitaion:
Found myself feeling distracted in Part IV. Mi
Apr 17, 2010 Traci rated it really liked it
This is one of those novels that has sucked me in right from the beginning with the horrifying reality that a four-year-old boy has been abandoned by his mother and uncle and left to fend for himself. The fact that my own son is four, makes it all that more fascinating (and disturbing) to read how the boy falls in with a canine family.

The author is masterful at describing canine traits and behavior and is able to cultivate profound sympathy for the dog clan and the boy who has adopted them as hi
Sara  (
Feb 13, 2015 Sara ( rated it really liked it
I would recommend this to people (like myself) who enjoyed reading Room. It likewise gets in the brain of a very young boy growing up in trauma but shielded from the trauma's full horrors by a mother figure, in this case a feral dog. The book also likewise makes a sudden left turn when you think you know the trajectory of the plot and also similarly switches to the POV of adults viewing the young boy.

Despite the book's grimness I enjoyed the psychology of it.
Mar 31, 2010 Marvin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
A first-read win.

Reading this book is a very uncomfortable experience. I say that meaning the highest compliment. This fictional story about a four year old boy being abandoned by his family and being raised by feral dogs in Moscow is often repulsive and horrifying. The author pulls no punches when describing the filth and the horror. Yet this immersion into a very realistic horror is what makes this story riveting.It is essentially a survival tale but also a strange tale of family and love even
Jan 16, 2011 Kendra rated it it was amazing
I won't forget this heartbreaking story. I couldn't put it down. It was a tough read for me, sort of like The Road by Cormac McCarthy, in that I was dreading what might be coming next, but cared so much about the boy that I was compelled to keep reading because I hoped for the best.

The main themes for me were: what it means to be human, people's capacity for cruelty & indifference, and the importance of family (or pack) for survival.

I highly recommend this book. The author has done a remarka
Kess Broekman-dattner
Jun 28, 2014 Kess Broekman-dattner rated it really liked it
Seems somehow fitting that my first review for Goodreads is for a book that — despite it's promisingly powerful premise — didn't emotionally resonate as deeply as I hoped.

Might be down to the hard to relate to character of Romochka and his posse of canines, or to the way the book leaps away from the protagonist a third of the way from it's conclusion, but I found myself remembering to appreciate the novel's conceit and originality — rather than innately appreciate it without prompting.

But there
Jul 28, 2010 Renee rated it liked it
Dog Boy follows the story of a very young boy who was abandoned after a war in Moscow. What starts out as innocently following a stray dog to its home in a deserted basement, becomes the essence of what keeps the boy alive, and ultimately acclimating to life not so much as a boy but rather part of the pack of dogs. The various settings are developed with superb skill, the writing is great, I like both dogs and boys well enough but for some reason did not love this book.
Feb 19, 2014 Kelsey rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this for several reasons. First off, Hornung did a fantastic job with character development of Romochka and the individual dogs. She has a great understanding of pack behavior and a great understanding of child psychology. Combining the two was quite an undertaking on her part, especially because there are not many cases like this reference. This story was entirely believable. Romochka's innocence, as well as his animalistic side were beautifully woven together to create ...more
Jul 05, 2014 Kerri rated it really liked it
I don't know what to give this book really, so I settled at a 2 for now. The beginning is slow, and it was hard to see a point. I also had a deep feeling of dread at the beginning that I cannot quite explain, besides the subject matter itself. I think I was expecting it to take a much different track than it did. It picked up speed at the end and I was a little surprised by how attached I had grown to all of the characters. Ramochka himself is fascinating with his adaptability and wits. I was re ...more
Jul 13, 2011 Maicie rated it it was amazing
I picked this book for a challenge where I had to read about something I feared. Dogs, even though I own one, scare the daylights out of me. All those teeth!

This is not a story about vicious dogs but it did nothing to allay my cynophobia. It is a story about a four-year-old boy who spends two years living with a pack of feral dogs in Moscow. The story is based loosly on a true event.

Highly recommend.
Stephanie Walden
May 09, 2015 Stephanie Walden rated it it was ok
This author either needs to get a new editor or needed another re-write, because I just found this book poorly written and just bleak. I get that it's told from a child's point of view, and that it's meant to be written in a simplistic way, but my god, I know ten-year-olds that write better than this.

The characters are just unlikeable. The boy in this novel is an idiot. That's it. He's unlikeable, disgusting, and makes me not like children even more. Again, it just felt like the author was like
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This book was haunting, mindblowing, anyone else feel the same way? 6 19 Oct 24, 2013 05:14PM  
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aka Eva Sallis

is an Australian novelist. Eva Hornung was born 1964 in Bendigo. She has an MA in literature and a PhD in comparative literature from the University of Adelaide. Sallis lived in Yemen while undertaking research for her PhD, and now lives and works in Adelaide.

Hornung's first novel, the best-selling "Hiam", won the 1997 The Australian/Vogel Literary Award and the 1999 Nita May Dobbie
More about Eva Hornung...

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