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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Ajay has always wanted a dog. His brother is on the fence, loving dogs, but not caring to have the responsibility attached to owning one. Ajay’s father also wants a dog, but his wife is against it. When the day finally arrives, after long discussions and pressure on a mother dead set against owning a dog, Ajay is filled with excitement. But, owning a dog requires more than carrying the puppy home in a bag and allowing it to settle into the family naturally. With so much conflict within the family, SuperBu, as they name the dachshund puppy they adopt, it’s difficult for anyone to settle in, let along a frightened little puppy.
Debarshi Kanjilal’s novel, SuperBu Homecoming, is an emotional story about a dysfunctional Indian family who seeks unification from the shared love of a little bundle of joy. What results is a plot that is more like a rollercoaster of emotions and drama and even some domestic violence. This is definitely not a children’s story nor is it the typical compassionate animal story. In fact, it’s more of a literary drama on humanity and all its foibles, leaning heavily on the simple element of love that only a dog can give to heal the wounds within one family. The story reads like a narrative, almost creative nonfiction, a re-telling of the events leading up to adopting the dog and immediately after. There is sparing use of dialogue and the characters are marginally developed. The author obviously has compassion for dogs, as this story is loosely based on the story of the author’s dog.