I, Cosmo by Carlie Sorosiak – Book Review #Gifted
I knew that I had to read this book as soon as I discovered that it is narrated by a Golden Retriever. Despite not having many middle grade reviews on my blog, I really do enjoy reading middle grade books. Rebecca at Nosy Crow kindly sent me an Advanced Reader Copy of I, Cosmo and I have been really looking forward to sharing my review with you.
“Ever since Cosmo became a big brother to Max ten years ago, he’s known what his job was: to protect his boy and make him happy. Through many good years marked by tennis balls and pilfered turkey, torn-up toilet paper and fragrant goose poop, Cosmo has doggedly kept his vow. Until recently, his biggest problems were the evil tutu-wearing sheepdog he met on Halloween and the arthritis in his own joints. But now, with Dad-scented blankets appearing on the couch and arguing voices getting louder, Cosmo senses a tougher challenge ahead. When Max gets a crazy idea to teach them both a dance routine for a contest, how can Cosmo refuse, stiff hips or no? Max wants to remind his folks of all the great times they’ve had together dancing — and make them forget about the “d” word that’s making them all cry.”
Title: I, Cosmo
Author: Carlie Sorosiak
Published: 1st August 2019
Publisher: Nosy Crow
Age: Middle Grade
Themes: Family, Divorce, Anxiety
I, Cosmo is a warm-hearted, laugh-out-loud middle grade book that tells the story of a troubled family through the eyes of their pet Golden Retriever. Cosmo is quintessentially the family dog that every young child wants to have as a best friend.
Cosmo belongs to Max, a twelve year old who suffers with anxiety and is struggling to deal with the possibility of his parents divorcing. He is a kind, compassionate and intelligent boy whose ambition is to become an astronaut. It is really interesting to experience Max’s emotions through Cosmo. We understand how Max feels by Cosmo’s reactions:
“His fingers wiggle. I recognise the gesture. It says: Here I am. Notice me.”
Cosmo is, of course, the main character and narrator so we experience the story through his eyes. His aches and pains frequently remind him that he is thirteen years old. That doesn’t stop him from being the family protector and trying his best to keep everyone together. I love Cosmo’s character, he is funny and sweet in equal measure. Honestly, he makes me think of all of our family dogs – their loving nature and hilarious antics. If you have a dog then they can expect a lot of cuddles when you read this book! Don’t worry though, this is NOT Marley and Me. You can read safely with the knowledge that nothing bad happens to Cosmo.
My favourite character other than Cosmo is Uncle Reggie. He is a dog trainer in the military who is moving home from Afghanistan. Uncle Reggie is a wonderfully supportive towards Max. He is a great male role model, taking an interest in his hobbies, helping him train Cosmo and giving him an adult that he can trust and talk to.
Divorce and fear are two entangled themes in I, Cosmo. Particularly poignant is the fear of the unknown. We see it manifest in the form of “the sheepdog” for Cosmo but it is an extension of Max’s feelings too. The book starts at a tricky time for the family and it is hard when Max’s parents, caught up in their own problems, sometimes forget about his needs. I like how the book doesn’t hide from the fact that we can all make mistakes and errors in judgement. Family rarely handles any situation perfectly but you still know that there is a lot of love.
I think that Carlie Sorosiak handles the topic of anxiety extremely well. Max’s anxieties are very relatable. Uncle Reggie plays a key role in helping Max understand that it is okay to express himself and that he is not alone. It really highlights the need for communication, which sometimes needs to be someone outside of the immediate family.
Style & Structure
I absolutely love the voice of Cosmo. The narration is authentic and makes the book a very addictive read. As someone who frequently voices her dog’s thoughts, it is so fun to read a book from a dog’s perspective. I love his obsession with food, opinions on human behaviour and his obvious love his family. It is really heart-warming and, at times, heart-breaking to see the world through Cosmo’s eyes. Mostly though, it is hilarious and I spent a lot of time making my dogs jump with my random bursts of laughter.
One of my favourite aspects of Cosmo’s narration is how he experiences and thus describes the changes in atmosphere:
“Uneasiness crawls through me. Something is wrong. I’ve heard dogs can sense hurricanes and tsunamis when they’re still miles offshore. This is similar.”
It helped me to feel the change in atmosphere and sets up other moments really well. Cosmo’s perspective is very refreshing and has enabled the author to play with scenes with a heavier sensory focus. All of the senses are used to explore Cosmo’s world, which becomes so vivid you can taste it.
I genuinely loved reading I, Cosmo. It is a great middle grade book that is easy to read throughout, sets a good pace and is really hard to put down! The narration is both hilarious and addictive. It is easy to fall in love with Max and Cosmo, the goodest boy. I hope they have many more adventures together in the future. I highly recommend this book to dog lovers everywhere, no matter your age. You could say it is the pawfect read.
If you would love to get your paws on your own copy of I, Cosmo. Keep your eyes on my social media as I will be giving one away!
*Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed my review and would like to support my blog, you can grab your own copy of I, Cosmo using my Book Depository affiliate link here.*