Book Review: Laika by Nick Abadzis

AuthorNick Abadzis & Hilary Sycamore (illustrator)
Publication Info: New York : First Second, 2007.
ISBN: 1596431016

This graphic ‘novel’ tells the story of the first dog in space, launched by the Soviet Union space program in 1957, with no provisions for returning her to earth.  Laika’s story from a Moscow street dog to her final journey is heart-renderingly told through the pages of beautiful illustrations.  Central human characters include legendary Soviet rocket engineer and Sergei Korolev and the fictionalized dog caretaker for the space program, Yelena Alexandrovna Dubrovsky.  Both are complex, fully-realized characters that add to the weight of what as being done to Laika in the name of science and advancement of humankind.

Favorite Passages:

“For once, it seems there’s nothing to worry about for the time being.  Of course, nothing lasts.  And why worry about that? One must learn not to.  Every day, every moment is a frontier to a country, that once crossed, can never be returned to.  Most of the time we don’t notice.  Which is just how it should be.  The secret is not to worry. You can’t back.  Although, those you leave behind will still think of you.  Most of the time, we don’t notice the small, gradual changes only the sudden unexpected ones.  But, once you understand nothing lasts everything’s all right.  After all, something always comes along that changes everything.  And once you realize this, you find that you’re no longer imprisoned by this truth but freed by it.”  – p. 111-116

Recommended booksThe Day Lasts More Than a Hundred Years by Chingiz Aitmatov
Rating: ****

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