“I have always wanted to write a book from a dog’s perspective, because dogs have always been my closest friends,” writes author Carlie Sorosiak about I, Cosmo, her heartfelt new novel about a year in the life of a golden retriever named Cosmo and his family.
As the story opens, the family prepares for Halloween, Cosmo’s least favorite holiday. Not only does Halloween involve a lot of chocolate, which he’s not allowed to eat, but Cosmo is also at the mercy of little Emmeline, who wants Cosmo to go dressed as a turtle this year. Says Cosmo, “I do not want to be a turtle.”
But 13-year-old Cosmo’s unhappiness runs deeper than being forced into an uncomfortable, embarrassing costume. His boy, Max, is sad. Sometimes Cosmo hears raised voices, family dance nights are no more, and the word “divorce” is in the air. The greatest worry of all is that Max and Cosmo might be separated.
Can dance bring the family together again? When Uncle Reggio, a canine specialist, returns from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, he takes Cosmo and Max to a special dance club for dogs. There, Cosmo discovers a love for his new movements as he and Max train for a competition. Although it becomes clear that dancing will not fix Max’s parents’ marriage, by the time Halloween rolls around again, both boy and dog have come to accept that even when families change, love remains.
The inclusion of Max’s Uncle Reggio, an African American veteran, brings depth to Sorosiak’s story. Uncle Reggio clearly senses Max’s anxieties and intercedes in a positive fashion, becoming a guide and role model. When Max and Cosmo falter on the dance floor, he’s there with sage advice: “Don’t focus on anyone else but you, though. The best that you can do is more than enough.” As for the dog-dancing competition: Yes, dog freestyle dancing is apparently really a thing!
With Cosmo serving as a humorous and lovable narrator, I, Cosmo’s sensitive handling of divorce in a biracial family will appeal to readers who enjoy realistic fiction and, of course, anyone who loves stories about very good dogs.