Riding the Dog

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
113 Pages
Reviewed on 12/07/2014
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Author Biography

Sybil Rosen is an award-winning novelist and playwright. Her young adult novel, Speed of Light, published by Atheneum (Simon & Schuster), won The 1999 Sydney Taylor Award for Older Readers and was nominated for the 2000 Mark Twain Award. It was subsequently published in German in 2001 by Verlag Urachhaus. Her play Brink of Devotion was a participant in the 1986 Sundance Playwriting Lab in Provo, Utah. A ten-minute play, Duet for Bear and Dog, was published in Take Ten: A Ten-Minute Play Anthology by Vintage Press in 1997 and has received over 100 productions world wide. She is also the author of Living in the Woods in a Tree: Remembering Blaze Foley, a memoir of life in a tree house with the Texas music legend, published in 2008 by The University of North Texas Press. She currently lives in Georgia and is still riding the dog.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Riding the Dog is a short story collection written by Sybil Rosen. The title refers to the Greyhound Bus Lines which is, for many people, the means by which they travel across the country. In one story, the dog is how mothers, sisters, girlfriends and wives visit their imprisoned loved ones. In another, a somewhat naive woman travels to Nashville to attend a beauty school. A widow, whose plans to drive to her school reunion in a rented Cadillac convertible are shattered, mounts the steps of the bus with fear and a bit of confusion as to the strangers she'll be travelling with. Throughout the stories, there's a common theme of strangers travelling together, spending hours with elbows and legs sometimes touching and occasionally a sleeping head nestling on a neighbor's shoulder.

Sybil Rosen's short story collection, Riding the Dog, is a lyrical tribute to the people who travel by bus. Each story carries within its theme the varying emotions, hopes and dreams of the passengers, but by far the most striking thing found is the kindness of strangers and the need for some sort of human bonding that goes on within the cramped confines of the bus. The bus drivers sometimes seem almost godlike in their announcements and authoritarian deliberations, though there are a few tales where the driver seems to know and care for each of the souls within his bus. Rosen's prose commands attention. Her characters are finely drawn with all their quirks and oddities, and the reader can't help but get involved in their tale, no matter how short and fleeting. There's romance in the chance for a new start and nostalgia in the trips that head home, but mostly there is kindness, and it's a marvelous thing indeed. Riding the Dog is an accomplished and compelling work that is most highly recommended.