''Dog named Mister Bossi’’ is a modern novel with fairytale features for kids, filled with fantastic motives and valuable lessons. It was written by a Hungarian writer Istvan Bekeffi. The story is about a man, whose weird life course, made him turn from a bad to a good person. As every other fairytale this one also thought us that good will always win.
The lawyer Bossi had to be turned into a dog and in that form he went through many difficult and humiliating situations just to experience the true consequences of evil he used to do to other people. Living through all of that he learned how to appreciate the good in people. Like a dog he experienced the true value of goodness, nice words, love, unity, true friendship, compassion and empathy. The new experiences he lived through as a dog made him a better person because he realized what is actually needed in life to be happy.
Except all of that he was also saved by his assistant Bruno, who believed in him even when he was a bad man. Bruno’s faith gave Bossi a reason to change. The moral of the story is that a good intention and faith in other people can melt ice and reach the coldest heart, especially if friends, love and kindness are present.
The writer is trying to tell us that kindness comes from the ability to fell empathy. If we know how much pain and misery comes from evil we cause to other people that we know how bad we would feel if someone did the same thing to us.
Except for the main moral of the story we can find many wise advices and valuable lessons. They are hid everywhere in the plot, especially when the man turned into a dog starts experiencing true life merit.
This novel contains many motives that are characteristic for a fairytale. It starts in the real world, showing us everyday life, and then everything goes to the world of magic.
The plot is settled in Brooklyn, New York, in the 20’s. Mister Bossi is a lawyer and he owns a building in a poor neighborhood. Since he became evil and cheap, he begins to make his tenants life horrible. In order to teach him a lesson, a mysterious old lady, curses him and Bossi became a dog.
From that moment on we have elements characteristic for a fairytale. The most obvious element is a dog with human characteristics. That transformation is the base of the novel, but it isn’t the only magical event in the story.
A happy ending, in which the bad man becomes good, is another thing picked up from fairytales.
The novel has 22 chapters, and every chapter has a title that announces the plot in the chapter.
The novel served as a scenario for a play that was made like a musical.
In a particular neighborhood in Brooklyn there are many Italians who just arrived to America. Lack of money forces them to live in poor neighborhoods and cheap apartments until they find a decent job and earn some money.
In one of those buildings lived hard working men, like shoemakers, ice-cream makers etc. – and they all shared the same feature. They believed in miracles.
All of these people had the same landlord. He was selfish, evil and cheap lawyer named Bossi. He was rootless, careless and made their life miserable. He was never ready to help anyone but he took advantage of everyone and everything.
Luckily, he has an assistant who was kind hearted. He was called Bruno and, since he felt sorry for the poor people, he would ask Bossi not to kick them out if they didn’t pay rent in time.
Bruno also had to put up with Bossi’s evilness and humiliating. For example, Bossi would make Bruno bark like a dog if beggars came to his door so that they would think there is no one in the house but a dog.
Bruno wasn’t the only one who had to put up with him. There was also Giulia. She came to America to collect the inheritance her uncle left her. Bossi never gave her the money her uncle left her because it was 6.000 $. He was always late with the payment.
Giulia had a boyfriend Alfonso, who she had met in her building when she arrived to America, and he was constantly pressuring her to demand her money. He only wanted to use her because of her money, but she didn’t even realize it because she was so innocent and kind hearted.
Giulia, since the day she arrived, tried to hell everyone as much as she could and Bruno had to help Bossi get the money other’s owed him. Bruno wasn’t happy doing it. He had no desire to make one of the tenants named Pietrino pay the rent because he knew he had spent all his money on curing his son Filipo’s hurt leg. Bossi had no compassion and he demanded everyone to pay their rent.
Bossi made everyone’s life hell. One day, while he was coming home from court, he stopped by his favorite pastry shop to get his favorite cake. Bossi always tried to fool the cashiers and pay less. This time he started arguing with a cashier who allowed a woman to enter with a dog and the very next day a sign was put out: “No dog allowed”.
While Bossi was in the pastry shop some kids decided to play gangsters. Filipo was also with them and since he couldn’t run he had to play dead. He didn’t like doing it so the kids found a new game. They decided to throw tomatoes at mister Bossi as soon as he steps out of the pastry shop.
They did it and when Bossi freaked out and started chasing them the only one unable to run away was Pietrino’s son Filipo. Bossi caught him and hit him.
The neighbors saw that and it was the last drop. They attacked Bossi but hemanaged to run away and hide in his apartment. He told Bruno that they tried to kill him and that they should call the police. Bruno went to the police but, just in case, he locked Bossi in the apartment and took the key.
Meanwhile, an old lady appeared in the building. She wrote horoscopes and was a psychic. She walked from one apartment to another and read the future. She told Giulia that she’ll get her money and marry the man she loves and she told Pietrino that he’ll be happy and won’t be kicked from the apartment.
She told some ugly things about Alfonso so he got mad at her.
When she came in front of Bossi’s apartment he saw her through the keyhole and started to bark so that she would think there is only a dog in the apartment. The prophet new that Bossi was there so she told him he’ll turn into a dog and the only was he’ll ever regain his human form is to be loved and kissed by someone that loves him.
Bossi immediately turned into an old, filthy dog and the only thing left by his side was his suite.
Bruno came back accompanied by a police officer but Bossi wasn’t around. There was just an old dog. The police concluded that nobody broke into the apartment and that Bossi went out on his own.
After the police left Bruno found Bossi’s keys and wallet in the apartment and he was sure that Bossi would never leave without them. He also didn’t know where did the dog came from and when the dog sat on Bossi’s chair Bruno called him mister lawyer.
Bossi was also confused. He started to live everything through his sense of smell and he recognized Bruno by his smell. When Bruno called him a lawyer he thought that he really is a lawyer so he started acting like one.
The dog reminded Bruno that it’s court time so Bruno took his briefcase and headed towards court. He was accompanied by the dog.
Bruno led the case by himself and thanks to Bossi’s absence, the court came with a verdict in favor of the tenants. The dog was furious when he heard it.
Because of the dog’s reaction Bruno told the judge that he suspects that the dog is actually a lawyer and the judge agreed with him.
When they came back to the office Bruno tried to explain to the dog that he led a bad life and that it was time to fix his mistakes. Bruno believed it was best to start with giving Giulia her money. He asked the dog to help him open the safe but the dog declined. Bruno told him that his transformation has a reason and that it is time for him to learn something out of this. Bruno kicked the dog out to the street.
The dog was left alone on the street. Since he was old and filthy everyone avoided him because they thought he was dangerous.
Bossi decided to go to his favorite pastry shop to forget about his worries, but dogs weren’t allowed there anymore.
On his way out he encountered Filipo and he barked at him but when he smelled him he realized that he smells kind of nice. When his mother saw him petting and old dog she ordered him to stop.
The dog carried on and decided to find a place to sleep. He found an old rag, dragged it to a construction site where he tossed it over a pile of garbage and he decided it would be his new home.
Bruno questioned his decision and got to the conclusion that he did the right thing. He also though about Giulia and realized he was in love with her.
Giulia was still persuaded by Alfonso to demand her inheritance but he explained to his that Bossi is missing and without him it will be impossible to get her inheritance.
Bruno told the tenants that the court was in their favor so they don’t have to move out. Everyone was happy and praised the Lord.
Filipo went to the butcher shop to get a bone for the dog. Bossi waited for Filipo terrified that he won’t come back. When he got the bone, Bossi started eating it devouringly while he let the dog pet him. He felt something for Filipo and he didn’t know was it love, compassion or gratitude.
Filipo’s mom appeared again and told him not to touch the dog.
Alfonso kept on pushing Giulia to get her money, no matter how many times she told him it was impossible. Alfonso told her he’ll have to go back to Toronto if she doesn’t get the money soon. In the end he suggested that she should ask Bruno for the money. Since he was in love with her he will give her the money. Giulia was shocked when she heard that because she didn’t even suspect that Bruno has feelings for her.
Dog loved to play with Filipo and every day he waited for him. They played catch.
One day the boys from the neighborhood picked on Filipo and started hitting him. Filipo ran towards the dog and he protected him.
Giulia decided to ask Bruno for the money. Bruno promised to do everything he can, even though he was sure she’ll marry Alfonso as soon as she gets the money.
Giulia told Alfonso the happy news, and even though he was thrilled about getting the money, he left her by saying he has some things to do.
He was meeting his other girlfriend Lola. He was also getting money out of her and lied to her that they will go away together when in reality he just wanted to take both of their money and go away by himself.
Bossi heard his plan and he came to the office the next day, right about the time Giulia was receiving her money. She gave it to Alfonso to keep it safe but Bossi ran and grabbed the money from Alfonso’s hands.
Alfonso ran after him and even fired a gun at him. Because of all of that noise many people gathered. The dog ate the money. Giulia was terrified because she didn’t know how she and Alfonso will survive. Alfonso insulted and left her because he had no use out of her. The police arrested him because of shooting a gun.
Giulia was devastated despite the fact that everyone was convincing her it was for the best and that Alfonso is a bad man.
Bruno comforted her and offered her his savings. Giulia was moved by his offer and she hugged him. Giulia felt safe with him.
Filipo went to meet Bossi and told him that Bruno wants to see him.
Bruno told him that it was a noble thing to do, to risk his life for Giulia. He offered him some food but Bossi declined and went back to his new home.
Bossi heard something calling him on the construction site and then he was caught by the people who work at the dog shelter. He was took there and he saw how dogs suffered in cages.
Filipo and Bruno found out that he was taken so they went to rescue him. When they got him out Filipo took him to the construction site until things in the neighborhood calmed down. Bossi was wearing a muzzle all the time.
Bossi felt uncomfortable with it so he went looking for Filipo. The boys found out that Filipo’s dog was taken so they decided to beat him up. Bossi tried to help but with the muzzle he couldn’t scare the dogs.
Filipo’s grandpa appeared and the boys ran away. Even though both of them were hit hard Filipo was grateful to Bossi for trying to defend him. He hugged him, kissed him and then went to his family to tell them what a good dog he has. When he came back for the dog all he found was naked mister Bossi trying to cover himself up with an ad for a Chinese restaurant.
The tenants started talking about Bossi’s comeback. Bruno was glad about it because he knew that Bossi became a good man. Bossi tried to convince Bruno how he was traveling but Bruno didn’t believe him.
Tomorrow Bossi looked for Filipo. He wanted to take him out to get some ice cream but Filipo was scared of him and ran away.
Bossi came back to the office to get the updates from Bruno. Bruno told him that the tenants won’t be evicted and he was surprised when Bossi was okay with it. The lawyer asked him what happened to Giulia’s inheritance and he told him the story of the dog who ate her money. Bossi asked whether Giulia signed a statement claming she took her inheritance and Filipo told him she didn’t. They decided that there is no evidence of her picking up her inheritance and that they will have to pay her out again.
Bossi pretended to be mad about it but Bruno saw through his act. Bruno went to tell Giulia she’ll get her money and she was thrilled. Giulia realized that the psychic prophecy will come true and that she will indeed marry the man she loves.
Bruno was promoted and he became the landlord. Bossi also ordered him to take care of the office.
Bossi decided to live as a happy man. He ran down the stairs in search of Filipo who was looking for his dog. All of his friends helped him but nobody could find the dog. When Bossi saw him he barked and Filipo realized he was his dog all this time.
They hugged and went to the pastry shop together. First, they took that the “No dogs allowed” sign and then they were served a big plate of pastries. Everyone was happy about kindness beating down evil.
Place: Brooklyn, New York
Characters: lawyer Bossi, Filipo, Giulia, Alfonso, Lola, the psychic, tenants, police…
Bossi – main character. In the beginning he was an evil cheapskate who only cared for himself. He humiliated everyone around him, including his assistant Bruno.
He never thought about his actions and questioned how other’s were feeling when he terrorized them. He has compassion for no one, not even his poor tenants. He always tried to get as much money as possible from them and his only pleasure was cake.
When he became a dog he changed because he experienced misery, devastation, loneliness…He had no friends nor shelter and he had nothing to give to others except his love. When he became the weaker one Bossi learned what life was about.
He realized that love and friendship were more important than money and that beingloved is better that being successful. He learned it the hard way but what’s important is that the good won in the end. He fought for justice and he even risked his life for it.
Bossi became a good man whose life goal is to be happy.
Bruno is Bossi’s assistant. He is his complete opposition. Unlike Bossi Bruno is good, fair, ready to help. He is the only one who saw that there is room for change in Bossi. He was the one who threw Bossi out to the street so he would experience what it’s like to be helpless.
Bruno always tried to diminish Bossi’s evilness and that’s the reason why people were fond of him. He was always fighting for justice and others even if it meant hurting himself.
He fell in love with Giulia but he didn’t want to show it to her because she had a boyfriend. The love for her and fear of losing her still didn’t stop him in doing what’s right and give Giulia her money. He was with her when she realized she lost her boyfriend and money.
Unlike Giulia’s boyfriend, Bruno actually loved her rich or poor. He was ready to give her his life savings while asking for nothing in return. In the end he got her love in return.
About the author: Istvan Bekeffi