Jackson Cremins Letter Essay #5

Jackson Cremin
Mr Jockers
ILA Per 8
The most recent book that I read is called Shiloh, by Phyllis Reynolds. The book is a 144 page realistic fiction text. The book was published by Atheneum books in …… I read this book because I saw it in our school library. I remember it as a read-aloud when I was in fourth grade, but never read it myself. I wanted to read it again as an eighth grader and see if my perspective on the characters and story changed. The book was very emotional for me because I’m a dog enthusiast. I have 2 dogs of my own and was able to connect to the character and story. The last few books that I read were fantasy genre and it was good to change it up.
The story Shiloh takes place in a small town in West Virginia. The main character, Marty, lives with his parents and sister in a very small house. They don’t have a lot of money to spare so they are very conservative with what they spend. They don’t want for a lot of things, but Marty does long for a dog. His parents say no to the idea because they can’t afford it. They can barely afford to keep the family fed and gas in the car. One day when Marty takes a walk through the meadow, he finds a beagle puppy that follows him home. Marty realizes that the dog has been abused and he knows the person who is doing it. Marty decides that he will do anything to protect the puppy, who is names Shiloh, from Judd Travers. His parents are against the idea and force him to return the dog to Judd. Marty has other plans though, and plots to figure out a way to keep Shiloh as his dog, and keep him safe.

This time when I read the story I noticed much more closely how the characters developed throughout the text. One example of this is how Marty’s mother changed her position on having a dog. In the beginning, when Marty brought home Shiloh, she told Marty absolutley not and made him return the dog. In the middle of the story she suspected that Marty was up to something and possibly hiding the dog. She noticed it at first when Marty began taking food to eat later on that night. She didn’t question him, but began making more food to give him. She followed Marty up into the woods and to his makeshift dog cage and found him with the dog. When I read this part I thought she was going to be very angry with Marty, but instead, she sympathized with Marty and was petting the dog. The mom had seemed to change at this moment when she realized the dog was in danger. At the end of the story she was willing to pay Judd Travers to keep the dog and became very attached to Shiloh.
I didn’t agree with parts of this book that had to do with animal abuse. While I was reading this book I had a hard time reading the parts where Judd Travers was abusing his dogs. I found this to be very disturbing because I care deeply for animals. The fact that someone would knowingly injure an innocent dog is just so wrong. An example of this is when Marty first returned the dog to Judd. When they first pulled up Shiloh wouldn’t get out of the car, he was shaking and tail between his legs. Judd had to forcefully pulled him out and kicked the dog into his crate. This made me upset thinking about how the dog felt, even though it was part of the story, I wish it didn’t happen.
The way I read the book was to constantly connect it to my own life. For example, when Marty wouldn’t give up on getting the dog, it reminded me of when me and my brothers wanted to get a dog. It took about a year to convince her to let us have a dog. Although the reasons were different, the idea of having to push my parents to get a dog was very simliar. I felt Marty’s emotions on being upset that he was told he couldn’t have a dog. I also found us to be similar because we both kept at it and ended up with a dog. Another example of how I connected to the book is when Shiloh needed to go to the hospital. Marty was very upset and scared that he caused Shiloh to get attacked. I can relate to this because my dog was hit by a car when me and my brothers were outside playing lacrosse and the dog chased our ball into the road. I remember the panic we all felt that we may have caused it to happen.
After reading this book again, it still is one of my favorites and I rate it a 9 out of 10. I’m glad that I reread it because it gave me a chance to think about the story in a different way. I was able to connect more deeply to the emotions of the characters and their decisions. I think that anyone who has a true love for dogs would enjoy reading this text.

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1 thought on “Jackson Cremins Letter Essay #5

  1. Jackson,

    I liked reading your letter essay, and loved the book you did it on. Now I want to read that book aswell. I also agree with you on the animal abuse part, makes me cry.


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