Review: A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World – Like a Warm Blanket of Hope


Title: A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World
Author: C.A. Fletcher
Publisher: Orbit Books
Release Date: April 23rd, 2019
Genre(s): Post-Apocalyptic
Subjects and Themes: Coming-of-Age, Animals
Page Count: 384 (hardback)

Rating: 8.5/10

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My name’s Griz. My childhood wasn’t like yours. I’ve never had friends, and in my whole life I’ve not met enough people to play a game of football.

My parents told me how crowded the world used to be, but we were never lonely on our remote island. We had each other, and our dogs.

Then the thief came.

There may be no law left except what you make of it. But if you steal my dog, you can at least expect me to come after you.

Because if we aren’t loyal to the things we love, what’s the point?



I never thought I’d be using “cozy” and “huggable” to describe a post-apocalyptic book…and yet here we are. I went into A Boy and His Dog thinking it’d be a story about the celebration of dogs against an end-of-the-world backdrop.

I was wrong.

It’s a story about the celebration of life.

This book tackles the end of the world from an angle that I haven’t seen before in the genre, and I think what it achieves for post-apocalyptic fiction is similar to what Life is Beautiful achieves for Holocaust ones–taking what is traditionally a grim subject matter and injecting it with an astonishing amount of hope and goodness. And you can hurl the exact same criticisms for A Boy and His Dog that people do for Life is Beautiful: that it’s not dark enough, that it doesn’t portray all the horrors of the situation, that it’s too positive and hopeful.

But you know what? I don’t think there’s such a thing as too positive and hopeful. Not with stories like these.

Griz’s narration is everything. It’s companionable and warm, like you’ve been friends for your whole lives and this is just a story that he’s telling you over a breakfast table. And it’s laced with empathy and introspection that I think most book lovers can recognize and fall in love with. And he does this thing where he gets a certain feeling from looking at something or experiencing something, but he can’t quite explain it with plain adjectives, so he tries to describe around it using imagery and comparisons to other things, and I just had to pause and stare at my tablet because it reminded me so much of myself and I rarely come across characters who think like this.

But the most brilliant part of the story is how Griz rebuilds this ruined world into something new–something quiet yet wondrous–just through his narration. He comes across empty bridges and crumbling buildings and old dusty records, but he doesn’t see them as the loss of a civilization. He doesn’t think, “Look what’s become of humanity.” He thinks, “Look what humanity has achieved.” It’s one of the most beautiful examples you can get of a character creating the world.

Surprisingly (or not surprisingly), there aren’t a ton of speculative book characters that I actually want to pull into this world and be best friends with. But with Griz? Sleepovers, baking sessions, camping trips, movie nights, book discussions–I want to do them all because he is my kind of people.

That being said, I did want more scenes of Griz bonding with his dogs; I kind of thought this would be a dog story first, post-apocalypse second, but the dogs felt more like catalysts for plot development than actual characters. And the ending wasn’t as meaty as I’d hoped it would be. I wouldn’t say “disappointing” but I was expecting something with a bit more impact. I think these complaints are fairly small in the grand of scheme of things, though.

A Boy and His Dog is the feeling of snuggling under your blanket fort, listening to the rain patter outside. A book that shines a light on the small everyday things we take for granted and says, “How magical. How beautiful. How extraordinary.” And if the world ends in a fiery inferno tomorrow, I’ll rest happily knowing that Griz will be narrating the life that comes after.



Review copy provided by the publisher via Netgalley

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Tammy April 24, 2019 - 5:41 am

Excellent review, Kathy! I agree with everything you said. I adored Griz and is childlike way of seeing the world, and his thoughtful insights. Such a feel good, special story❤

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky April 24, 2019 - 1:36 pm

Totally!! I mean, half the time I forgot I was reading a book about the post-apocalypse. It felt more like this really quiet adventure story, or maybe a stroll through a really big museum. Ugh. So unique.

madscibrarian April 24, 2019 - 6:18 am

Nice review! This sounds so heartwarming, I will have to add it to my TBR.

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky April 24, 2019 - 1:37 pm

That’s awesome to hear! <3 It's probably the most feel-good story I've read so far this year!

Lisa April 24, 2019 - 7:17 am

Terrific review! I adored this book as well, and loved reading your thoughts about it.

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky April 24, 2019 - 2:06 pm

Thank you! And ooh now I shall have to check out *your* thoughts! 😀

Paul's Picks April 24, 2019 - 7:36 am

Great review! Loved this book, and will be recommending it to all!

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky April 25, 2019 - 10:58 pm

Thanks, Paul! I will also be shoving it into everyone’s hands for the rest of the year. Definitely in the top 3 books of 2019 so far. 😀

Paul's Picks April 26, 2019 - 7:33 am


jennifertarheelreader April 24, 2019 - 2:43 pm

Cozy and huggable and a dog and postapocalyptic and rain patter and oh my! I am not missing this book, Kathy! Your review itself is like a warm hug. ♥️

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky April 25, 2019 - 11:14 pm

Aww thanks, Jennifer! I think this book has ruined all dystopian/post-apocalyptic stories for me because now I expect them ALL to be this warm and thoughtful. <3

@lynnsbooks April 25, 2019 - 3:08 am

I really enjoyed this too – I think if I had any small reservations it would be that the ending felt like it was over very quickly – but I’m probably just being greedy.
Lynn 😀

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky April 27, 2019 - 1:21 am

I definitely wouldn’t say no to a sequel of sorts. Maybe with an older Griz? I’d be curious to see if his optimism and empathy stays with him as he grows up.

@lynnsbooks May 1, 2019 - 6:24 am

That would be a great idea – let’s hope the author is on the lookout!

waytoofantasy April 25, 2019 - 10:11 am

Great review. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book so I think I’m gonna have to pick it up at some point. 🙂

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky April 27, 2019 - 1:29 am

Definitely give it a go! It’s definitely one of the top 3-ish books I’ve read so far this year, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to end up on my best of 2019 list.

This Week’s New Book Releases And Reviews – 2019/17 – Swift Coffee April 27, 2019 - 7:13 am

[…] ‘A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World’ by Kathy at Pages Below the Vaulted Sky […]

The Coffee Book Tag – Meeghan reads and bakes April 27, 2019 - 3:13 pm

[…] Night Anisa @ Bookish Bibliophile | Aki @ The Bibliophile District Avonna @ Avonna Loves Genres | Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky Evelyn @ Evelyn Reads | Reg @ Bookish in Bed Joe @ J. W. Martin | Stephen @ Stephen […]

Lisa (@TenaciousReader) April 29, 2019 - 5:01 pm

Oh nice, I’ll have to keep this in mind when I really need a feel good book

Susy's Cozy World April 30, 2019 - 1:17 am

Your blog is really bad for my TBR (and for my watch list) and that’s really not a good thing!
Complaints aside, I am not a fan of post-apocalyptic books but this book is everywhere so I was curious, just a little bit. And then you went and write this review… And now I have to read it, just like that!!

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky May 2, 2019 - 8:08 pm

Hahaha sorry not sorry! <3 And oh gosh, if you're not a fan of post-apocalyptic books, this is the PERFECT book for you! It's the most un-post apocalyptic story I've ever read, and it left me *smiling* almost non-stop from beginning to end. I so hope you love it!!

maddalena@spaceandsorcery April 30, 2019 - 10:14 am

You’re right: a post-apocalyptic world does not need to be grim and bloody – although dangers abound here like they do in similar stories. What’s wonderful here is indeed Griz’s outlook on things, and the fact that the eyes of a book lover, one who enjoys fantasy stories, can show the beauty of a fallen world and make it feel poignant rather than dreary.
Thanks for sharing! 🙂

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky May 4, 2019 - 11:28 pm

I think I need to start a category for these hopeful, feel-good post apoc stories! The Book of M was one of my favourite reads last year, and that one also approached the apocalypse from a really unique and rather magical angle.


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