Author: Jonathan Crown
Genre: Historical Fiction
In Berlin, he was named Levi: a good Jewish dog with a good Jewish name.
When his owners fled to America, he became Hercules: star of the silver screen in Hollywood’s golden age.
Then he caught the eye of Hitler, who called him Hansi: a pure-bred lapdog, privy to all the Führer’s secrets.
But he was known to the Resistance as Sirius: the insider who could bring peace to a world at war.
SIRIUS: the little dog who almost changed history.
I received an advance reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I wanted to like this book, I was even sure I’d enjoy it. But when you’re 30% in and you’re tempted to give up because it has taken weeks to get to that point, something is off. Maybe my expectations were too high after reading a book like The Art of Racing in the Rain, but I simply couldn’t get into Sirius. Here’s why:
One of the reasons I wanted to read Sirius was because its central character is a dog. I’m always curious to see how an author shows the world through non-human eyes and while a bit of that was achieved in this book, it fell short of its full potential. I’ve read books with many non-human characters and I always find it fascinating when they share their beliefs and philosophies from the perspective of their species. That was one thing I didn’t get from Sirius. Our little fox terrier felt like a human in a dog’s body and while there can certainly be similarities between human and non-human thought, Crown overdid it in this book.
Another thing I didn’t like about Sirius was how well everything worked out for him. Somehow, he was always at the right place with the right people, doing the right thing at the right time. There were small peaks of struggle from time to time but the dog is always well received by everyone. Nobody questions how he could be so smart or how he understands every human conversation and responds appropriately. I think that was one thing that irked me – nobody questioned it and simply accepted it as is. He was a dog and he was adorable, why question anything?
If Sirius was too perfect, the other characters were too flat. I sympathized with what they went through but none of them felt real enough for me to care about.
My experience with Sirius may have been more positive if I picked it up expecting an MG depiction of WWII through the eyes of a dog. There were moments when the book tried to be comedic and I can see children appreciating its humour. There were even nuggets of wisdom to pick up here and there. I enjoyed the latter 5-10% of the book but I don’t think it was worth the struggle it took for me to get there. Other readers may have a completely different experience. If the synopsis makes you curious enough to read it, do so. If you have other books that are more interesting, you won’t miss much by bypassing this one.