“My name is Cally Louise Fisher, and I haven’t spoken for thirty-one days.” So opens the heart-warming A Dog Called Homeless, the debut novel by Sarah Lean, which won the Schneider Family Book Award which honors “an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences”. Not bad for a debut novel.
What started out as a fund raiser, get sponsors who think you can stay silent for one whole school day, turned into a 31 day rally for Cally, because once she saw that people treated her no differently, it didn’t seem important to talk.
Background: Cally’s mother died in an auto accident a year before. Since then, her father has withdrawn, they’ve had to move into a smaller apartment and her best friend ditched her. She ‘sees’ her mother in various places, the first time at the cemetary on the anniversary of her death, but no one believes her. So, what’s the sense of talking. The second time Cally sees her mom, a big grey wolfhound is with her…except the dog is real.
Her downstairs neighbor is Sam, who is totally blind, mostly deaf and has a heart murmer. Sam’s mother teaches Cally how to ‘write on Sam’s hand’, which according to Cally isn’t considered talking. Together, the two tackle the hardships of their particular worlds.
As I said at the beginning, A Dog Called Homeless is a heart-warming, charming book that will teach you about what’s important in life, how to deal with the loss of someone close to you and the love of family. I should have seen the ending coming, but I didn’t. It was a great ending, as far as I’m concerned. Cally is a darling of a girl and A Dog Called Homeless is a darling of a book.