Swedish / Sweden

Jagger, Jagger
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Nilsson, Frida (text)
Geffenblad, Lotta (illus.)
Stockholm: Natur & Kultur, 2013. – 151 p.
ISBN 978-91-27-13610-6

Dog | Friendship | Revenge | Animal story

A dead rat in the mailbox is a tried and true means for revenge, but it can also symbolize sadness, loneliness and powerlessness. Before Bengt meets a stray dog named Jagger Svensson, he is being bullied by the neighbourhood kids. When Bengt gets his revenge, though, it only first feels good for a little while. ≫Jagger, Jagger≪ is a complex psychological children’s novel (also for adults), which examines the motivations behind human behaviour as well as the ties that underlie social and familial community. Parental actions are often defined by hypocrisy, egoism, opportunism, but also helplessness. Children adopt much from them, even though Bengt can instantly tell false from real laughter and intuitively knows that dead rats don’t solve any problems.

Once again, Frida Nilsson expertly avoids recounting a pessimistic, moralistic story, instead linking seriousness with humour. Her anthropomorphized animal characters create comic distance that in turn enables more genuine identification. (Age: 8+)