Thursday, July 22, 2010

Book Review of Huck: The Remarkable True Story of How One Lost Puppy Taught a Family -- and a Whole Town -- About Hope and Happy Endings by Janet Elder

I was fortunate to receive Huck: The Remarkable True Story of How One Lost Puppy Taught a Family--and a Whole Town--About Hope and Happy Endings around Mother's Day. Since the story is family friendly and heartwarming, the publisher sent copies out just as people were celebrating Mother's Day.  

The blurb:
The story begins with a little boy's dream.  Janet Elder's son, Michael, for years begged for a dog.  At one point, when he was about seven years old, there was even a PowerPoint plea entitled "My Dog."  Janet almost caved, but then she thought about their tiny apartment, her and her husband's demanding jobs, and their need to get away.  As much as she hated having a heartbroken boy on her hands, she remained steadfast: no dog.  What does make her reconsider her long-standing position on a family dog is a breast cancer diagnosis. 

Worried about the toll the illness would take on eleven-year-old Michael and her husband, Rich, Janet decides the anticipation and excitement over the arrival of a new puppy would be the perfect antidote to the strain on the family of months of treatments.

A few months later, the family ventures south to attend the Yankee's spring training and enjoy a much-needed vacation, leaving Huck for the first time with Janet's sister in Ramsey, New Jersey.  Barely twenty-four hours into their trip, Janet gets a phone call that Huck has slipped through the backyard fence and run away.  Brokenhearted and frantic, the family races home to begin a search for little Huck, who faces the threat of coyotes, raccoons, swamps, rain, freezing temperatures, and fast cars.  Moved by the family's plight, strangers -- from schoolchildren to the police lieutenant -- join the search.  But, as the days pass, finding a small puppy in a densely wooded area porves to be an incredible test of faith and determination.

Touching and warmhearted, Huck is a page-turning story about resilience, the kindness of strangers, and hope.

Huck: The Remarkable True Story of How One Lost Puppy Taught a Family--and a Whole Town--About Hope and Happy Endings
Even though the plot is clear from the start, Huck is worth reading to get to know Janet and her family, to learn the details of the story from Janet directly.   The Elders are a very New York family -- well-educated and hardworking journalists forgo a large house and life in the suburbs and instead opt for the excitement and opportunities in Manhattan.  They raise their son in the City and spend on travel and entertainment, and like most New Yorkers adjust to living with very limited space.  While a dog is a burden that they're not willing to take on, when circumstances lead Janet to bring home Huck, the dog becomes a central part of their life. 

Janet tells a good story and I found that I liked her son very much.  How could you not warm to Michael when he so clearly loves his dog?  The hunt for Huck is full of tense moments, near misses, and heartwarming moments.   Huck is the sort of book that doglovers and mothers are likely to appreciate. 

ISBN-10: 0767931343 - Hardcover $23.99
Publisher: Broadway (September 28, 2010), 304 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher. 

About the Author:
Janet Elder is a senior editor at The New York Times.

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