(blog) To Night Owl from Dogfish

To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

Avery and Bett are both daughters of single gay dads who find out that their said dads have just embarked on a jumping in at the deep end full on relationship and who are about to go off to China on a holiday of a lifetime and are sending their respective daughters to the same summer camp with the intention of their becoming close and loving sisters. Of course the girls have other ideas. That’s the nub of it!

It gets a lot more complicated, lots more characters, lots more events.  I loved the book and thought the whole set up really worked well and was cleverly expressed entirely throughout by emails sent mainly by the girls.  The girls are very different from each other, thus Avery is Night Owl, thoughtful and sometimes overanxious about situations and worries herself by looking up every risky issue on the internet, Bett is a high risk taker who doesn’t mind interfering in other peoples’ lives and likes to emphasise by PUTTING IMPORTANT THINGS IN CAPITALS.  Which isn’t as annoying as it sounds.  There is actually a lot of subtlety in the book, despite the capitals, and the feelings and relationships are often nicely understated with a lot of inferences drawn by the email style of writing which doesn’t overexplain things (unlike what I am doing now).

The narrative races along, it’s readable and funny. Being in a family with a gay parent is never presented as an ‘issue’ and discrimation is touched upon by the comments of one of the other campers in one situation, but events show that people can be more complex than at first sight, and also friendships can develop, and have their ups and downs.  There’s a neat twist near the end so the ending is not quite as predictable as you might think.

I’m intrigued by the double authorship – did one writer write all Avery’s emails and the other all of Bett’s?

One Reply to “(blog) To Night Owl from Dogfish”

  1. Gillian Harris

    I really liked this too – if one writer wrote Bett’s emails and the other Avery’s, who wrote all the others from various dads, summer camp counsellors, grandmothers etc?!

    Bett and Avery are so very different from each other and the developing relationship between Bett and Avery is beautiful. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say how alarmed I was that the Dads split up less than half way through the book – there’s still a HUGE lot of story to go, and I wondered where on earth the story could go from here without being predictable… but as Sylvia says, a very neat twist.

    Great book – much more about friendship (and to a certain extent, manipulation, and daughters, and wanting everything your own way), than about gay families, which is just how it ought to be.

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