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Friday, August 26, 2011


by William H. Armstrong, 1969, YR, 116p, rating=4

"Sounder is no beauty. But as a coon dog, this loyal mongrel with his cavernous bark is unmatched. When the African American sharecropper who has raised Sounder from a pup is hauled off to jail for stealing a hog, his family must suffer their humiliation and crushing loss with no recourse. To make matters worse, in the fracas, Sounder is shot and disappears. The eventual return of a tattered and emaciated Sounder doesn't change the fact that the sharecropper's oldest son is forced to take on man's work to help support the family. His transition to adulthood is paved by the rocks and taunts hurled at him by convicts and guards as he searches for his father. But along this rough road he ultimately finds salvation as well."  (Goodreads)

Only the dog has a name in this book, Sounder.  The anonymity of the characters perhaps suggests that you can fill in the names from someone you know.  You might say, "Yes, my Uncle  Jafaris went through a similar hardship.  'That's how it was during those days.', he would exclaim." ... a universal theme of struggle.  And so it was for father, mother, son, brother, and Sounder in this book ... happily poor.  But coming back empty handed after food hunting with his dog one too many times, father felt compelled to steal food in order to feed his family.  But he broke the law and so he was sent to jail.  His loyal co-hunting dog, Sounder, ended up getting shot at in the process and off to the waters Sounder disappears to heal.  In the meantime, son takes on the role of man of the house.  Endures cruelty in his quest to see his father in jail and later his whereabouts.  Son longs to be literate and through the years in wait for his father to return, he was fortunate enough to stumble into a teacher willing to empower him with that gift.  Such an enablement gave fruit to hope amidst the sad, cruel, and hard life.

A touching story of endurance and patience.  Saddening and hopeful.


  1. Beautiful review! I both sobbed and felt a sense of hope for the future when I read "Sounder" - this book is truly a must read!

  2. Oops! I still had the Aiding & Abetting rating on this ... meant to have it as 4 stars! --Thanks for commenting Kittie where I then noticed the rating ..eek! Thanks for stoppin' by. :)

  3. I have gone through the review and I think it’s a touching story and I loved every minute of reading this and I thank you for sharing this with the community.

  4. You're welcome DGSA. Thanks for taking time to comment.


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