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The Dog Farm Paperback – March 22, 2012

3.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David S Wills is the editor of Beatdom magazine and the author of The Dog Farm, a novel about ESL teachers in South Korea.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Beatdom Books (March 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956952518
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956952516
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,899,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David S. Wills is the founder and managing editor of Beatdom, the world's most popular Beat literary journal. He is also the author of controversial novel, The Dog Farm, which is set in the seedy world of ESL teaching in South Korea, and Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult', which examines the role of Scientology in the life of an American literary giant.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What happens when you take a self-absorbed, alcoholic hipster from Scotland into Korea to teach ESL? Read on to find out.

In my view, the main character is fairly one-dimensional and has a lot of immature hate for his environment and himself. There aren't many sharp observations about life in Korea and a large part of the book consists of irrational rants and blatant exaggerations. However, the visual descriptions of the country were fairly vivid and the plot was interesting which gives this coming of age story redeemable qualities.
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Format: Paperback
Wills' first novel, The Dog Farm, is a raucous first-person novel about a foreign teacher living and struggling through his issues in Daegu, South Korea. "Struggling" is the key word in this description, because the narrator's experiences in the city read like a guide on how not to live in Korea. Alexander, a recent graduate of literature from Scotland, begins his dive-bomb onto the ROK with the first words of his story, "I was drunk when I first heard about Korea." Making one of the worst life decisions imaginable, young Alex decides that teaching in Korea might be a good way to escape the pit of alcoholism and despair his life in Edinburgh has become. Korea is not a good place for a young, depressed man to sober up.

Keeping the author-narrator divide in mind is crucial to enjoying this book. Wills is not Alexander. If you can manage that, and don't mind some rough language (and the occassional editorial error; it's a small press!), you will enjoy this. It is also much better if you've lived/worked in Korea.
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Living in Korea & knowing quite a few ESL teachers i was interested in reading this book & as a novel it is an entertaining read, at least i read it cover to cover in one sitting.As a novel i suppose one should take all content with a pinch of salt, but i assume or presume that this novel is based on the authors experiences of living & working in Korea & from this regard i must say he writes about a people & a country that i cannot recognize except perhaps for the pushing & shoving & love of Kimchi.This book is full of trite categorizations & Stereo typing that borders & often surpases offensive.Im not an ESL Teacher therefore i do not have first hand experience of working in Hagwons, but i know a number of teachers who have worked & Still work in Korea & their experiences are nothing like what is chronicled in this book.So if you want to read a novel, then go ahead but if you believe you are reading an accurate account of working in Korea Circa 2011, buyer beware!!
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Presented as a work of fiction. To me, it screams of more than that.

First thoughts into my head are that clearly the author knows his subject. His take on it (assuming he has drawn from his own experience) may not be to everybody's liking but that is their problem. Not his. As for grammar errors or spelling mistakes? OK they're there. But Wills, I'm sure will make amends in his next joint. I must add. I read the book, and write this as an uncontaminated reader. Though I do know Wills, he knows I'll be honest here. I'd even like a chance to lash out just to wind him up, but alas I cannot because I liked this book.

It strikes me as honest. Alexander is a vulnerable chap. Seemingly with his heart set on love in some form or another. One could be forgiven for thinking he's a soft-touch. I believe deep down he is. Among his first thoughts on hearing about Korea are that of meeting a Korean girl and settling down. While on the plane we see the twisted, angry side of Alexander emerge. On arrival, things begin to take a turn toward the critical. His hatred for his surroundings and fearlessness in showing it come across as a partial cover for his weakness of being a lovesick alcoholic. Too clever for his own good.

And so it goes. It seems he never gets to grips with Korea. In my opinion he never gives it a chance. He dug himself into a rut and couldn't get out. Maybe he enjoyed wallowing in his misery. Such a trait translates well onto a page.

Yes it is a dark read. Sometimes the darkness is glamorized. A dark read need not be a bad read. Bukowski was a master at it. The structure is 95% there. The flow is good. Story-line is solid albeit a bit harsh. Reading it I got a great sense of his surroundings. I recommend this book on its merits of being a good story, well written and entertaining. I hope there is a follow up. David can then silence his critics and further prove his worth in this rotten business..
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By Derek on October 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I currently live in Daegu, South Korea and have for some time. I purchased and then (regrettably) read this book thinking that I would be able to relate to the story as I too am a young man who was broke and jobless in his home country before taking a chance on South Korea. After reading a few pages, I realized that I was wrong and felt really bad about spending the money to support this nonsense.

This book is poorly written. The "story" is boring and cliche--basically a young man who is down and out on his luck comes to a foreign country, drinks himself into a stupor everyday, prowls for women, and then wonders why his life is such a mess--and I could have probably turned a blind eye to this had the author done anything to thoughtfully and/or intelligently comment on life in South Korea.

The author was clearly embittered by his time in Daegu, and if his time was spend anything like the way of the book's protagonist, then I'm not surprised as to why. I found it intolerable for the protagonist to constantly accuse Koreans of being "dumb, stupid, morons, racist, etc," especially because the main character himself appears to be all of these things. The protagonist, Alexander, never gives Korean culture a chance, aside from hunting for Korean women, who he continually refers to as "bitches" or "dumb bitches".

I'm not even sure why I finished the book. If anyone is thinking about reading this expecting to learn something about an ESL teacher's life in Korea, please reconsider. This story was so dull and uninformed--in terms of what it is actually like to teach in Korea--that it could have taken place anywhere. There's a much better book called "Dispatches From the Peninsula". Id recommend reading that one instead.

Finally, whoever has the audacity to compare this novel and it's author to writers like Ginsberg, Thompson, Kerouac, etc. should go back and read through those authors again.
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