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Monday, October 29, 2012

Curious Question by Linda S. Glaz

I had a great question come up at a recent conference and am curious how readers, mostly, would view it.
Does anyone remember the movie from days way gone by, Look Who’s Talking? A romance that included a baby’s POV. The series ended with the third installment, Look Who’s Talking Now. This last offering included the POVs of the two pets.
And herein lies the question. How do readers feel about internal dialogue from a pet? I didn’t have an answer for her other than it didn’t work well for me, but that’s only one opinion. And therefore, far too subjective.
So…I’m curious. How do you feel, as readers, about an animal’s POV being included in a work of fiction?
I'd love to get some dialogue going here.
I thought it was a very interesting question.

10 comments:

Raquel Byrnes said...

I read a well-known author and was really surprised and a little thrown when there was a POV from a crab. Seriously. I was really confused.

I hesitated to buy another one of their books because I was concerned the writer had sort of segued into comedy or something. The author is known for very serious FBI hunt sort of things and it was just too out there to be sprung on me from out of the blue.

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

I think that unless it is the premise of the story, pet/baby/even small children shouldn't have a POV. My family is reading Jenny L. Cote right now. Her books are mostly from the animal POV because that's the premise of her book. Just throwing it in to be cute bugs me.

Linda Glaz said...

So, it's harder to take a story seriously? I see the point. Thanks, ladies.

Sadie and Sophie said...

But, but, but... Have you read Spencer Quinn? His detective stories are written from his dog's pov, and I love them. I'm amazed how he stays true to the dog's mentality without belittling or going too far into animal behaviors. Very enjoyable books, imho.

Rick Barry said...

Because of the range of peoples' personalities and preferences, it's fascinating to me how one person's eye-riveting tale will strike another person as silly. (Personally, I place Transformer movies in this latter category even though some folks love 'em.) That said, Linda, this is the type of question that can never achieve a final, definitive answer concerning the rightness or wrongness of these atypical POVs. However, you might find a great majority of folks weighing in on one side or the other, and if a great number say they do not like animal or baby POVs, then editors won't want a story that caters only to a slim slice of the buying public.

As for me, an animal's POV will always come across as a story geared for kids or else sheer light-hearted comedy. In our real world, we know that God's creatures don't reason with human-style intelligence, so creating a story where one does so will spark connections to Tom & Jerry, Mr. Ed, or Roadrunner's Wile E. Coyote, etc. Disney occasionally produces a movie about, say, a dog who gets separated from his owners and must find his way home, but it's still basically children's fiction. So, if humor is the goal, it's workable, but if you aim for adult plausibility, I wouldn't try it.

Sarah Thomas said...

I HATED hearing from the dog in The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. Never finished that book because I couldn't stand the suffering of the animals.

I think the only way it works for me is as a lighthearted, comic relief kind of thing.

Davalyn Spencer said...

I think of Homeward Bound: the Incredible Journey, and how we heard everyone's voice - people and pets alike. But yes, it is a children's story, so the premise is acceptable. Marley and Me, on the other hand, has kids and a dog, but we don't get to hear Marley. Nor do we need to.

White Fang? Not first-person/dog, but we seem to know the dog's motives.

After reading this post,
I must give Spencer Quinn a read - for obvious reasons.

But let me return to the Incredible Journey. Since that movie, I've not been able to look a Siamese-ish cat, golden retriever, or bulldog in the eye with hearing Sally Field, Don Ameche, or Michael J. Fox in my head.

Davalyn Spencer said...

...without hearing ...

Joanne Sher said...

I'm fine with it if it's a children's/MG book. For adults? I think it's odd - though I haven't read one that I can remember.

Ruth A. Taylor said...

I'm with Joanne. For a children's book, I think it's great. If it's for adults, such as the movie you mentioned, it should be made clear beforehand that the reader will be hearing from the dog/cat/baby/rat etc...