Anenberg beautifully and convincingly portrays the contradictions of American society during the period, and he ably juxtaposes Eaton's mission to save her son with stories of the past--showing a world which, despite many technological advances, has made few discernible social advances...An engaging tale of a mother's and son's struggles in 1940s America."
In the same way that THE HELP focused on the exploitation and humiliation of black housemaids in the '50s, Noel Anenberg's riveting first novel, THE DOG BOY, based on his own life experiences, focuses on the strength of a black family maid who struggles valiantly to right the wrongs in a highly dysfunctional family post WW II. Phosie Mae Eaton has left Galveston,Texas, to visit her wounded son in a segregated military hospital in Los Angeles. She is stunned to discover her son, a Marine hero, has been denied penicillin because no "colored" needles are available for the black patients. In order to get money to provide for his medical care, Phosie takes a job in the home of Lucile Goldberg, a narcissistic divorcee who ignores her five year old son to focus entirely on landing another rich husband, while her deadbeat brother lives off whatever is left of the household income. Mrs. Goldberg has put her son in a cage because the boy constantly mimics the little dog his estranged father gave him and his mother disposed of on a distant street corner. The animal is the only real love the young toddler has experienced in his short life. THE DOG BOY is a powerful tale of love, hate and salvation through the loving heart of a maid who must take control and turn the tide of her life and of this troubled household.