Sunday, July 16, 2017

When friendship followed me home by Paul Griffin

"The answer is yes," my mother said.  I didn't even get a chance to ask her. She just saw the little varmint in my arms and said okay.  ...  "He picked you for a reason," she said.  ... 
"Life's a journey, Traveler."

One of the things I worry about when I read about new books is the way the suggested reading age given by publishers and reviews is often starkly at odds with my own view.

When Friendship followed me home is a truly tragic story.  Yes it does have uplifting moments but Ben Coffin has certainly packed a lot in to his twelve years.  Spoiler alert.  Ben is a foster child.  He is adopted at age ten by a wonderful lady Tess but she is 67 and not in good health.  The school bully is making life hard in his new school.  Ben finds a stray dog and he names her Flip.  This little dog is such a joy and through Flip, Ben makes a very important friend - Halley but Halley is very ill.  She is undergoing regular chemo treatments which are not really working.  Ben also finds refuge in the town library and in the kindness of the librarian but I am sure you can read between the lines here and see all the possible tragedies.

I read one review who said this book contains tough topics and that is certainly true but I do think this book will appeal to a very mature Primary student and students in High School.  I do know all readers will fall in love with Flip and deeply admire Halley for her bravery, storytelling ability and wisdom.

Listen to the author reading his book here.

Here are some reviews :

It left me with faith that people can feel discarded, as though everything they love will be taken from them, and still end up whole, if they are touched by love and friendship.   New York Times 

Entrancing, magical, tragic, and uplifting.  Kirkus

Ben wrestles with big questions in relatable, realistic ways, and his huge heart and optimism will win over even the most hardened skeptics.  Publishers Weekly

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