11-year-old Rose is autistic and struggles to understand her classmates. But when her father gives her a stray dog, which she names Rain, the dog becomes her best friend, her anchor in a confusing world. So when Rain goes missing during a storm, Rose refuses to stop looking for her…
So I actually acquired this book through my work – I’m a support worker for people with autism, and this was one of the books offered in a recent book sale the company held. I was intrigued by this one after reading the blurb above, and also partly because I had previously read and enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, also told from the perspective of an autistic child. (which I also saw the fantastic stage show of last year) Comparisons are therefore perhaps going to be inevitable – particularly because both stories revolve around dogs! (thankfully the one in ‘Lost Dog’ is not brutally murdered like the poor creature in ‘Night Time!’), and both protagonists also have an obsession with prime numbers, but ‘Lost Dog’ stands as a perfectly good book on its own right. Martin writes the character of Rose very well, in that she is both a sympathetic character but at the same time you can understand the frustrations of the adult characters around her in dealing with her, particularly her father. It never quite has the emotional resonance of ‘Incident’, perhaps because it’s story is a fair bit smaller in scale, but still managed to tug at my heart-strings. You feel Rose’s pain when her dog goes missing, and -without giving anything away- the decision she has to make towards the end of the book is truly a heartbreaking one, from the perspective of the reader anyway – to Rose it is simply the logical thing to do, as it is following ‘the rules’. As with ‘Incident’, the book shows just what a confusing and scary place the world can be when this status quo is disrupted, and should be required reading for anybody to hope to understand autism. (like Christopher in ‘Incident’, Rose even follows ‘the rules’ of how a book should be written, making sure to mention these, but only because this has been the advice given to her by her teacher!)
Both an emotional and amusing read, I’d highly recommend this book to essentially anyone, but especially if they enjoyed ‘Incident’. Also, if you didn’t know (no) what a homonym is, I can promise you that you (ewe) will most definitely will by the time you’ve finished this book!
A 4/5 from me.
Check out my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, available NOW for download as an eBook on Amazon. Check it out here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017BZBH6M