BOOK REVIEW: End of the Race (Wild at Heart #12)

End of the Race (Wild at Heart, #12)

Young readers will not encounter great literary achievement with this series. Vet Volunteers are quickie paperbacks directed toward animal-loving ‘tween’ girls. While the Vet books contain more depth regarding animal issues than most books of their ilk, they still often fall frustratingly short of recognizing kindness toward all animals.

This installment focuses on greyhound racing. The veterinary clinic takes in a greyhound whose injuries are consistent with being overworked at the track. This gives the characters opportunities to discuss the injuries racing greyhounds can suffer, as well as impart facts critical of the dog racing industry. A brief section at the end of the book discusses the greyhound breed, the development of modern racing, and some of the problems associated with it. All good stuff.

Through a highly unlikely scenario, the middle school protagonist catches a greyhound owner illegally doping his dogs at the track kennel. This doesn’t result in the closing of the track (of course), but our heroines do convince the track manager to set up a greyhound adoption booth on the premises.

The main story is a positive one. It questions the values of the greyhound racing industry and informs its young readers of the adoptability of retired racers. It’s also nice to see that, despite scattered pockets of strength, the dog racing industry has fallen from grace enough to be criticized in a very mainstream juvenile fiction book.

What I find hard to digest (literally) is the author’s insistence of having her young animal advocates shake their heads at the senselessness of animal cruelty and killing all the while digging into plates of meat. End of the Race is an improvement over the earliest series installments, as at least here some of the girls are choosing plant-based meals at lunchtime. However, the book’s main character, Maggie, dismisses these foods with a “Yuck! Too healthy!” and grabs a hamburger. And at the end of the story, everyone happily gobbles pork and chicken at the fundraiser for the new adoption center. (Sigh…)

Despite its very positive message about protecting racing greyhounds, I have some reservations about End of the Race.

I purchased this book for my library.

(review originally appeared at goodreads.com)

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. free letter of resignation
    Sep 21, 2013 @ 17:57:57

    It has always been my belief that very good writing like this takes
    research and talent. It’s very apparent you’ve got done your homework.
    Great job!

    Reply

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