Book Review – Fox 8

Written By: George Saunders

Final Overall Rating: 10/10

Rating: 10 out of 10.

First of all, this review is purely derived from my own personal opinion. If you disagree, let me know in the comments; I am always up for a good discussion or to answer questions. 

Recommend Yes or No: Yes, I highly recommend this novel. It is both simple and controversial. Have you ever wondered what kind of stories animals would tell if they could write? If they could transpose their thoughts and experiences to paper? If yes, please read Saunders’ posthumanist and satirical interpretation on the animal existence and humanity’s moral dilemma. 

(Spoilers Below – Read at your own peril!)

Writing Style: 10/10

Saunders’ writing style will be a unique experience for many. Imagine reading a book with the spelling of second or third grader. The whole book is written with incorrect spelling, because the story is being told from the perspective of a fox who learned to understand and write a human language. You cannot say Saunders doesn’t commit to character! This fascinating divulgence from the norm is an adjustment, to be sure, but work through it – Fox 8 is only 50 pages long! 

Story: 10/10

What does the fox say?? This story is heartbreaking – especially once you learn that this novel is actually a letter addressed to “Yumans.” Fox 8 tells the audience of his lived life – of the reality of cruelty, death, displacement and speciesism. This tale is a warning. A warning that if people do not change their selfish actions, behaviors and nature that soon “Yumans” will be left alone to the world. Why would animals continue to co-exist with us when death and extinction is easier? In the wise words of Fox 8, “If you want your Stories to end happy, try being niser” (Saunders, 49).  

Character Development: 10/10

For just a 50-page novel the character development is beautiful. I truly felt close to Fox 8. His simple and yet complex thoughts and questions afront the very nature of humanity. His experience begs for people to simplify their morality and treat others with compassion. Though, to be fair, if anyone knows me, they know of my love for animals. As such, this novel presented no difficulties in getting me emotionally involved and invested. However, I still would not change a word of this book. 

Fun Facts about: 

  1. Saunders is the author of Lincoln in the Bardo, the 2017 winner of the Man Booker Prize (Saunders).
  2. “His stories have appeared regularly in The New Yorker since 1992” (About George Saunders).
  3. Saunders obtained a degree in Geophysics from the Colorado School of Mines (About George Saunders).
  4. Saunders teaches creative writing at Syracuse University. (Saunders)
  5. “In 2013, he was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine” (About George Saunders). 

Favorite Quote from Fox 8: 

“If you want your Stories to end happy, try being niser” (Saunders, 49).

Final Takeaways: 

A life on earth without other creatures is a promise of misery to all creatures. It is not too late to learn to respect life and the existence of others… but soon it will be. We are capable of change. The real question is will we? 

Works Cited: 

“About George Saunders.” https://www.georgesaundersbooks.com/about-george-saunders.

Saunders, George. Fox 8. New York: Penguin Random House LLC, 2013. Print. 

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