Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Review: The Wonder of Lost Causes by Nick Trout

If you are a dog person, you know what magic dogs are. They are love wrapped in fur. They make bad things more bearable and good things simply joyous. Finding the right dog for you is completely wondrous and will change your life forever. But if you're a dog person you already know this and probably already have a dog (or several). But what would you do if you couldn't have a dog? If your child had a life threatening disease that made a dog a bad idea? If your apartment didn't allow for dogs? If you were a single mother so overwhelmed by the thought of caring for a dog that having one was just a bridge too far? What if all of this was true and then your terminally ill child meets the dog of his heart, the ugliest dog ever, one that was clearly abused and battered, and you watch as they become a vital piece of each other. What do you do then? In Nick Trout's heartwarming new novel, The Wonder of Lost Causes, this is exactly the case.

Kate Blunt is a veterinarian at a financially struggling dog shelter. But unlike most vets, she doesn't have a menagerie at home, despite the shelter being a limited, aka kill shelter, because her eleven year old son Jasper has cystic fibrosis, a terminal, genetic lung disease. Kate's a single mom, Jasper's dad has never been in the picture, and she can't risk her boy's health nor can she take on one more responsibility no matter how much Jasper has always wanted a dog. And then the ugliest, most unadoptable mutt ever lands at the shelter and Jasper falls in love. Whistler has been terribly abused and has run off from several previous "forever homes" but he clearly has a connection with Jasper, who claims that he can understand what Whistler is feeling because Whistler is telling him. Kate can't quite bring herself to believe in telepathy between her son and this dog but as Whistler's fourteen days at the shelter start counting down, she can see the tight bond they've formed. And she sees the way that Whistler has changed Jasper, making him more willing to embrace and enjoy life in the moment. But there are so many hurdles to keeping Whistler, their no pets allowed apartment, Jasper's illness and frequent hospitalizations, and finally something big, something from outside of their control.

The story is told by both Kate and Jasper in alternating chapters so the reader sees each perspective, the innocent and hopeful child as well as the pragmatic and overwhelmed adult. The first half of the novel is a slow negotiation between mother and son, building the backstory, and showing the distance and loneliness both Kate and Jasper feel without close friends and emotionally closed off from family, the second half turns into a tear jerking roller coaster ride followed by an epilogue that feels a little too much like Trout needs to reassure the reader this isn't a tragedy so the narrative tension is somewhat uneven. There are certain plot lines that start and then are dropped (Kate's boss needing to speak with her urgently, Kate taking Jasper's Adderall to cope with this stressful life) and some that are too easily resolved (Kate's family issues, Whistler's ownership) but it's generally a sweet, heartwarming story with the beautiful message to live life without regrets, to recognize and hold onto love in whatever form it comes, and to always be open to possibility. This is a dog story; this is an adoption story; this is a love story. Readers looking for a sweet tale of a boy and his (potential) dog, of a mom learning to let go a little, and of the wisdom of animals and children will want to grab their Kleenex before they open this one but they'll likely find it quite satisfying.

For more information about Dr. Nick Trout and the book, check our his author website, look at the book's Goodreads page, follow the rest of the blog tour, or look at the reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and Harper Collins for sending me a copy of this books for review.

1 comment:

  1. Oh man... this sounds like a tear jerker!!! Thanks for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours


I have had to disable the anonymous comment option to cut down on the spam and I apologize to those of you for whom this makes commenting a chore. I hope you'll still opt to leave me your thoughts. I love to hear what you think, especially so I know I'm not just whistling into the wind here at my computer.

Popular Posts