Friday, September 11, 2009

NOTES FROM THE DOG by Gary Paulsen

As a long-time Gary Paulsen fan, I'm always excited when I see he has a new book. NOTES FROM THE DOG goes in a slightly different direction than most of Paulsen's previous books. His dedication gives a hint about the topic within - "This book is dedicated with all respect and hope to everyone who has ever faced cancer."

When a bald, young woman in her early twenties moves in next door to Finn, it changes his life forever. As a loner who has vowed to spend his summer avoiding people, Finn is none too happy when his dog Dylan and this new neighbor seem to hit it off immediately.

Johanna wastes no time be-friending the shy Finn and the energetic Dylan. She casually explains her baldness by describing herself as a recent survivor of breast cancer. There is something about her that brings out the best in Finn, and he soon finds himself doing her bidding as he works diligently to create a beautiful garden out of his own neglected backyard.

Finn's friend Matthew joins in the friendship with Johanna, and together the three have some interesting summer adventures. The main project they embark on is fund-raising for a survivor triathlon Johanna is planning to enter. Through his friendship with Johanna, Finn discovers he has more of a talent for connecting with people and gardening than he ever imagined.

Although Paulsen doesn't take his readers on the usual adventure in some far-off wilderness, his fans will still find Finn and his dog Dylan worthy of their attention.

No comments: