Dogfight, A Love Story by Mark Burgess

by Gwen

Dogfight, A Love Story


Gritty. Dark. Unforgiving. Yet, hopeful, uplifting, and worth the effort.

Dogfight was challenging to get into at first. Taking place in Queens, “a place where Pakistanis, Puerto Ricans, Haitians, Anglos, African Americans, and West Indians scrap and mingle with love”, it was a world that I have never known. Drug dealing is a way of life. Relatives in prison are nothing new. It made me feel sad and so dirty that I wanted to take a shower.

I hung in there because it felt so authentic. Burgess brought me along with his characters; I felt included. The prose was like nothing I have ever read. How can a writer make sleeping next to your boyfriend that smells like B.O., on his parent’s pull-out couch in the living room sound beautiful?

He drew me in. I cared what was going to happen to Alfredo. I wanted to see what happened to him when his brother, Tariq, is released from prison to find that not only has Alfredo stolen his girl, but is pregnant with his nephew. I don’t know about you, but I consider myself pretty well adjusted and I would have been miffed if I was Tariq.

When Alfredo decides to throw his brother a welcome home dogfight, it seems like a crazy idea, but fights right in with the world that they live in. The whole thing was like an out of body experience, a peek into another life. A life that is harder than anything I have ever imagined. It made me feel for the characters, root for them.

The ending is just as gritty, but silly and hopeful at the same time. Can you tell that I am struggling here? Don’t get me wrong, I liked the book. I just feel like I have to include a warning label. Leave the world you know behind. Lose yourself in another life, another kind of love story. It will make you grateful for what you have.

Incredible story from a new voice, Mark Burgess.

Dogfight, A Love Story by Mark Burgess

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (September 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385532989
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385532983

5 Comments to “Dogfight, A Love Story by Mark Burgess”

  1. I’ve heard good things about this book. Thanks for the review!

  2. I have this to read and need to make time for it. I’ll be sure to remember that it will absorb me into another place.
    Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

  3. True stories are so much better because…they’re real. And it makes so much more of an impact when you know this is happening to someone out there. Never mind that it is sickening. Maybe that just makes you feel blessed that you have the life you have. The book sounds memorable. Great review!

  4. Your review was pretty awesome. I’ve not heard of this book, but the way you describe it makes me want to read it!

  5. “Gritty, yet silly”. I can’t even imagine!

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