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Thursday, December 6, 2018

My Father's Words, written by Patricia MacLachlan. Harper, 2018. $19.99 ages 8 and up

"The truth is that we know the dogs need people. But people need the dogs even more sometimes. To teach people how good they really can be. I call it turnabout." I thought about Finn and Emma - helping each other. When I went outside with Jenny and found Luke with Lulu, I saw the bumper sticker on Martha's car. I pointed it out to Luke.


Fiona's father loved words, and shared sayings often with his family. Following his untimely, and accidental, death, Fiona and Finn understand they might never know what they all mean. However, they remember them and they spark those memories of their father that will forever hold him in their hearts.

Declan, a psychiatrist, is on his way to help a patient when a child runs out in front of his car. In avoiding a collision, he drives into the path of another vehicle and is killed. The family is left to deal with the anger, grief, and their dreadful loss.

As they try to move forward, comfort comes in a variety of ways. Fiona begins speaking once a week with one of her father's patients, Thomas. He has insights to share - and the words he remembers from the many visits he has had with their father. The two talk for a short time every Monday, always ending with a promise for next week's visit.

Finn, who is younger than Fiona is having a very tough time processing the loss and his anger with a parent who would let her child run out into the street. Luke, who lives next door, asks both Fiona and Finn if they would like to visit an animal shelter with him. Perhaps, it will help both of them by connecting with the rescue dogs housed there. It does, indeed.

Patricia MacLachlan is a master at making every word count. She creates characters and story in precise and thoughtful language that will live long in the memory of those who share her books . And, she loves dogs! This is a beautiful story of hope and healing - and, as their father often said, "the eternal fitness of things."

Perfect for reading on these cool winter nights - hot chocolate, a cozy blanket, and a family hug.

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