In the very first chapter of Chasing Augustus, author Kimberly Newton Fusco’s protagonist Rosalita declares ‘When you lose your dog, there’s a hole in your heart as big as the sun.’ This is a problem for Rosie (as she prefers to be called). Her beloved dog, Augustus, is gone and the narrative traces Rosie’s various and ingenious ways to track him down and get him back.
The author uses terse, snappy dialogue to reflect Rosie’s spiky and abrasive character. This, combined with the immediacy of first-person narration, serves to grip the reader with the personality of Rosie and the urgency of her mission. The character of Rosie is bolstered through her reflection in the other characters’ eyes and her own very stubbornly held views about them. Her grandfather, neighbouring family and townspeople all give the reader a viewpoint on Rosie, which is like the protagonist herself – uncompromising.
Themes of abandonment, love, family and friendship are covered thoroughly from the strongly antagonistic 11-year-old’s point of view. As a result, readers may be prompted to an equally uncompromising love/hate response to Rosie and her adventures. Undoubtedly, she will be loved by many readers who will see her as feisty and independent, and disliked by others who read these qualities as spiky and inconsiderate.