Pet Book Review

If you think the synopsis sounds a little strange, then don’t worry just roll with it. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get on board with this book’s magical realism at first, but I was very wrong indeed! The book is undeniably incredible, and I could list and list so many elements of Pet that make it so, but for me I think what makes it profound is that Emezi chose to write this story through the eyes of a child. Pet is a impactful allegory, but the fact that we experience Jam’s innocence being slowly taken from her as she uncovers the truth, makes this book so powerful.
For such a short book, Pet does an incredible job of making a meaningful comment on our world and the rules we live by. There’s no doubt in my mind that this book should be taught in schools, not only for its beautiful inclusivity, but for its brazen and yet somehow also subtle commentary on society. I’ve heard amazing things about Freshwater, also by Emezi, but honestly after this, I will happily read anything by them!

Far from a ‘tick box exercise’ Emezi makes Pet so inclusive and diverse that you have to admire its beauty, and bringing that inclusion into a book with such a young protagonist is so commendable for the impact it will have on the children reading it. Every decision made with this book’s plot, characters, setting, tone, atmosphere just felt so clever and well thought-out – I’ve read some reviews which said that the book was too obvious or predictable, but I think that’s what made it brilliant. Emezi’s not trying to get you to solve a riddle to work out what they’re saying, it’s there in black and white, clear and uncomplicated and it’s an evocative call to invoke change.
The creature Pet itself was an interesting element to the story too; at first I definitely had to suspend my disbelief a little and just go with the story, but as it progressed, I found myself just treating Pet like all the other human characters in the book, and I think that in itself says a lot about the metaphor Emezi is projecting.

Title: Pet
Author: Akwaeke Emezi
Type: Fiction
Published: 2019
Pages: 208
TW: Child Abuse

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Review overview




“Monsters don’t look like anything, That’s the whole point. That’s the whole problem.”

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