Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Pug List by Alison Hodgson, 2016

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In the fire’s aftermath of insurance battles royal, rebuilding plans, parenting in the face of life’s hard questions and a scorching case of post-traumatic stress, now is absolutely theworst possible time to adopt a dog. But to Alison’s seven-year-old daughter, Eden, it’s the perfect time—and The Relentless Campaign begins.
Until one day Alison peeks inside Eden’s diary—dubbed “The Pug List”—and realizes in one fell swoop that her girl’s heart is on the line, and resistance is futile (“The pugs make me happy FOREVER.”).
Enter “Outrageous” Oliver, and the hilarity, healing, and irresistible hope that follows.

(208 pages)

My mom read this and thought it was boring. I can kind of see where she's coming from - the description of their search for a pug definitely could have been more compact - but I still disagree.

I mean, can you imagine how horrible it would be to have your house burn to the ground? You say "yeah, that would be horrible," but in the back of your head you think that it's a pretty small disaster in the grand scheme of things - at least no one in Hodgson's family died, right?

But think about it. Every CD you own, every book, every photo and purse and item of clothing and piece of furniture. All of it is gone, and you'll never get it back. Ever.

I'm going to go off to college next year. In many ways, as a homeschooler, I'll be at a disadvantage when it comes to adjusting to college life. In another very real way, however, I'll have an advantage. Why? Because I've moved house seven times in my short life. My identity, my home, isn't any one set of four walls, and I won't be one of those kids who go through the shock of moving for the very first time. No, I'll have my books and my quilt and my dresser knick-knacks and my Taylor Swift collage - and I'll be home. It takes very little to make me feel at home, because my physical sense of belonging is tied to objects instead of to a building.

All that to say, I can't imagine how horrible it would be to me if our house burned down. I would move into a different residence, of course - but then I wouldn't have my belongings to make me feel at home, and I would be miserable. That's why, while I was reading The Pug List, my heart constricted. I can't imagine the horror of losing every single thing I ever owned. I don't think I could take it as well as the Hodgons did; I'd become obsessed with replacing every single item I'd lost, and then I'd be tortured about the things I would never be able to get back, and I'd cry myself to sleep over all of the memories tied to the things lost in the fire. I'm not even joking, I would literally break down over just the thought of, say, that random keychain my grandfather gave me ten years ago which shows up underfoot every six months. I'd think about how I could never see that little heart keychain again, and I - well, I just wouldn't be able to handle it.

So I guess you can see why I was so fascinated with watching the Hodgsons dealing with and moving past the fire. If the very thought of losing my stuff is so upsetting to me, how did they do it? How did they get through the trauma of watching their life disappear? That's the question that will lure readers in and keep them. It's certainly what hooked me, and I think I learned the answer: you push through because there's nothing else you can do. You have no choice but to roll with the punches.

I just hope I'll never have to roll with a punch as big as losing everything I own.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for an honest review.

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