Reviewer Vivek Tejuja: Vivek is a voracious reader who has loved and lived books since he was five. As he grew up, the love of books grew far larger and presently he reads for pleasure and to spread the word of good books. You can read more about Vivek by referring to his Blog, The Hungry Reader.
Publisher: Harper Collins
Dogs have been an integral
part of my life. I have grown up in a house of pet lovers and I guess this has
made me the person that I am today.-compassionate (as I
feel that way towards any pets, more so dogs), gentler and a better
human being. I attribute this to dogs because they teach you a great deal,
and rightly so. They make humans human and nothing could be more evident.
I had the opportunity to review Jane Paley's beautiful children’s book Hooper finds a Family, and yes, it is a book about a dog. It focuses on a puppy named Jimmy and his tale of survival through Hurricane Katrina, while living in Louisiana and being found by a new family in New York and a new name – Hooper.
Hooper’s adventures are something else – from almost being eaten by a bobcat to surviving his starvation and getting by the storm. The story is narrated in the first person and via the mouth of the puppy. The book reminded me of The Art of Racing in the Rain but only from the first-narrative perspective. Everything else is different.
The structure and the plot are tight and written in short chapters, making for perfect story-telling for children and even a great read for adults. Hooper is a pet that everyone can relate to, understand and what he experiences. His struggle to fit in with the new family is another tale. His new dad Larry does everything in his power to make him feel unwanted and unloved until something unexpected occurs and matters change for the better.
Hurricane Katrina has always been depicted in books from a human perspective. However, this time it is a dog that does the narrating, and literally so. At the same time, there is a high-risk of making the story sound sentimental, which Paley has avoided with great finesse and ease. Though the reader is empathetic towards Hooper, it does not border on feeling sorry for the survivor. For instance, the particular scene where Hooper has to take his first bath after the flood and his reaction to being drowned is beautifully described.
Hooper’s story is
brilliantly told. It is based on actual events. For any dog lover in
the world, this story will strike a chord. It will make you laugh and
in certain places there will be this lump in your throat. For anyone
who has ever wondered how pets cope during crises and what happens
afterward, please read this book. For those who don’t want to know,
please read this book anyways, as it will change your perspective on
survival and what it means.