12. Laika


Laika by Nick Abadzis

Pages: 203
Finished: Jan. 19, 2009
First Published: 2007
Genre: graphic novel, history
Awards: Eisner Award
Rating: 2.5/5

Reason for Reading: Graphic Novel Challenge, Book Awards Challenge, YA Challenge

First sentence:


I am a man of destiny...I will not die...


Comments: This is the true story of the Russian space program in it's infancy. They stunned the world when they sent up the first satellite, Sputnik. The Premier wanted to send another one up within a month on the celebration of the October Revolution. So this time they decide to send a dog into space but because of the short time frame they cannot work out a plan to bring the dog back, she will die in space.

The book concentrates on the scientists and dog handlers working on the program within a 'know what you need to know' atmosphere. No one knows the reality of the situation until the end. The book particularly centers on a woman who is newly hired to work as the dog handler; she is a great animal lover and becomes attached to the dogs, especially the one who will eventually die in space.

Honestly, this book did nothing for me. The story did not tell me anything I did not already know. I found the fact that the dogs talked to the woman to be rather disconcerting. I realize it was supposed to show that she felt she was communicating with them, but still....talking dogs in a true story put me off. I also found the pages very cramped. There were way too many frames per page for the size of the pages and everything felt squished on the page, leaving the print rather small to read. You need a good light when reading this book. In all it did what it was supposed to do, retelling the story from a human point of view but it left me bored. Obviously it is a sad story and perhaps if I was a dog lover I may have enjoyed it more. If you like books like Old Yeller perhaps this might be more your style than mine.

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