The Extraordinary Life of Pikelet is a memoir like no other. For one, our handsome storyteller is named Pikelet Butterwiggle Stoll (Pike for short). Secondly, he is a red staffy with a mission – and if that hasn’t peaked your interest, then I don’t know what will.
Now Pikelet’s mission is very simple – he wants to save the world. With the help of his Pa and Ma, as they are affectionately called throughout the book, but known to the human world as Calley Gibson and her husband, he takes on the role of foster-brother-extraordinaire to love and help pups with an unfortunate start to the world to get back on their paws, ready to meet their ‘furever’ family and live happily ever after.
The premise of such a book would normally have me cringing and avoiding it like the plague – the genre is not for me. However, I was pleasantly surprised, overwhelmed and in love with this telling of a rescue-dog’s story. Maybe I was invested a little too much (I have two gorgeous rescue dogs myself), but Gibson does a wonderful job of bringing to life the characters that very much are her life. Pike is a beautiful literary device, taking the focus away from the people and giving the power back to the voiceless, young animals that are crying out for Gibson’s help. She writes with enthusiasm and great care, ensuring that the best is also accompanied by the worst of her tale. It’s an unforgiving look into the world of foster caring in Australia where, beneath the happy moments, there are long nights caring for sick animals, horrible people doing horrible things and the hardship that foster carers face financially and emotionally.
Ultimately this is a memoir of a handsome rescue dog that was the beginning of a greater story for the young family. It is well written, engaging, filled with gorgeous pictures (it helps that the parents work in photography and marketing, right?) and definitely a good choice for afternoons spent reading in the sun. For those looking for some insight into the real world of fostering, this is a good start. I very much enjoyed this memoir, having taken many lunch-breaks in the sun with it, and highly recommend this title for all.
Reviewed by Zoe Butler
Rating out of 10: 10
Distributed by: Penguin Random House Australia
Released: May 2017