The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King
(from the back of the book)
In the late seventeenth century, famed teenage pirate Emer Morrisey was on the cusp of escaping the pirate life with her one true love and unfathomable riches when she was slain and cursed with the dust of one hundred dogs, dooming her to one hundred lives as a dog before returning to a human body – with her memories intact.
Now she’s a contemporary American teenager and all she needs is a shovel and a ride to Jamaica.
Interesting concept. I thought that being cursed to live a 100 lives as a dog before being human again was a good way to get Emer into the future without really having to go into all the intervening years, what she was doing and why she didn’t act before and all of that. At the same time I also liked the dog facts that she puts in, explaining things she learned as a dog, so the reader doesn’t forget where all those years went. When she finally gets back into a human body she is still the same person she was all those years ago, with all her memories intact but having been able to witness all the changes since her death. And now she is wise beyond her seeming years and still bitter about the past plus she has regular adolescent problems too that make her life rather complex and puts a big spin on a unique coming of age tale. The story goes back and forth between her first life and her current one so you get to see how she became who and what she is while you watch her try to come to terms with it all in a whole new world. The way she became a pirate was well done so that it could be believed. It is of course terribly improbable but it didn’t stretch my credulity beyond the limit. You can have sympathy for the child Emer was and even for the rather blood thirsty pirate she became but unfortunately in her current incarnation I couldn’t stand her. I understand that life had made her bitter but she pushed me past the point of caring. She kept imaging doing horrible things to people who annoyed her and that started to annoy me. I often found myself just wishing she would shut up. I wanted to know about her past life, how she got cursed, how she died, how everything came out. But her new life? Not so much. It was mostly just Emer being bitter and angry and that wasn't very interesting to me. I didn’t love the book. I didn’t hate it. It was interesting, imaginative and quirky and I like pirates so it was worth reading but I wasn’t sad to see the story end.