The Michigan Dogman: A Diary
by Scott Devon
BookTrail Publishing

"There are magical times in this life that help us sustain the tragedies."

Where, when, or to whom he was born, the Michigan Dogman does not know. He is aware that stories about him have circulated since the nineteenth century. He also knows that he stands eight feet tall, weighs five hundred pounds, has the head of a dog and the body of a man, and is covered with hair. His appearance frightens most people so badly that he never has a chance to demonstrate his humanoid intelligence or his doglike good nature. Intensely shy, he is predominantly nocturnal, but he is also acutely lonely and longs for just one human friend. An equally brilliant and reclusive professor of music finally gives him an opportunity for virtual and live companionship. Through technology, Dogman learns to create wildly popular art he can share worldwide even as he remains unseen. Is this cautious, tender friendship strong enough to withstand frequent separation and ultimate tragedy?

It isn't easy to imbue a book about a mythical creature with a depth and pathos that adult readers can appreciate. Devon achieves this masterfully. Dogman is hesitant to seek human contact and is also emotionally fragile, yet he possesses a degree of self-awareness that is rare among literary monsters. After knocking down trees during an uncharacteristic jealous rage, for example, he at once feels remorse. Conversely, that self-knowledge later means that he knows he will have no trouble carrying his best friend, a grown man dying of cancer, on an adventure through the woods at great speed and over a great distance. The novel highlights internet anonymity as Dogman posts his unusual photography on social media without showing his face. It also discusses COVID-19's impact on wildlife since Dogman cannot find much of the roadkill that comprises his diet. This novel is a must for those who enjoy autobiographical twists on well-known urban legends.

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