Why Dogs Chase Cars: Tales of a Beleaguered Boyhood

Front Cover
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2004 - Fiction - 300 pages
0 Reviews
These fourteen funny stories tell the tale of a beleaguered boyhood down home where the dogs still run loose. As a boy growing up in the tiny backwater town of Forty-Five, South Carolina (where everybody is pretty much one beer short of a six-pack), all Mendal Dawes wants is out.

It's not just his hometown that's hopeless. Mendal's father is just as bad. Embarrassing his son to death nearly every day, Mr. Dawes is a parenting guide's bad example. He buries stuff in the backyard—fake toxic barrels, imitation Burma Shave signs (BIRD ON A WIRE, BIRD ON A PERCH, FLY TOWARD HEAVEN, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH), yardstick collections. He calls Mendal "Fuzznuts" and makes him recite Marx and Durkheim daily and befriend a classmate rumored to have head lice.

Mendal Dawes is a boy itching to get out of town, to take the high road and leave the South and his dingbat dad far behind—just like those car-chasing dogs.

But bottom line, this funky, sometimes outrageous, and always very human tale is really about how Mendal discovers that neither he nor the dogs actually want to catch a ride, that the hand that has fed them has a lot more to offer. On the way to watching that light dawn, we also get to watch the Dawes's precarious relationship with a place whose "gene pool [is] so shallow that it wouldn't take a Dr. Scholl's insert to keep one's soles dry."

To be consistently funny is a great gift. To be funny and cynical and empathetic all at the same time is George Singleton's special gift, put brilliantly into play in this new collection.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

Why Dogs Chase Cars : Tales of a Beleaguered Boyhood (Shannon Ravenel Books (Paperback))

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Fans of contemporary Southern writing will recognize Singleton as the author of The Half-Mammals of Dixie , a collection of humorous stories set in the small South Carolina town of Forty-Five. In ... Read full review


Nearby Toxic Waste Dumps
A Wheelchairs Too Slow

6 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2004)

George Singleton teaches writing at the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities.

Bibliographic information