Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hannah's Dream

By Diane Hammond

A book filled with heart, with character, with inspiration; "Hannah's Dream" is story-telling perfection. By far the best book I have read in ages, it is sure to strike a chord in every reader's marrow.

Samson Brown has been Hannah the elephant's caretaker for over forty years at a small zoo in Bladenham, Washington. His health and agedness require he retire soon, but he knows he cannot leave his beloved Hannah in the conditions she must subsist in at the Max L. Biedelman Zoo. His empathy with Hannah, combined with the devotion and hard work of those around him, work together to better the pachyderm's life.

This book is beautiful. The characters are each detailed with such color and flavor and voice. The writing is very smooth and fluid, yet smart and to-the-point. The story is quick to capture the reader's attention, making the book difficult to put down, and impossible to forget once finished.

One of the most impressive aspects of "Hannah's Dream" is the easy way the author inserts details of the characters' histories. For example, the reader can see what a character looks like and learns where a character has been, all with the same thought:

"Sam steered his old Dodge Dart back into morning traffic, making sure the coffee and the bag of donuts were secure. He was a careful man and it paid off. At sixty-eight, even by his own lights, he looked damned good. He stood upright and proud, no gut whatsoever, not even a little one people would have forgiven him for, at his age. A little snowfall on the top of his head, just a light dusting; no gray at the temples, either. Seeing him from the back, you might think he was twenty, but when he turned around his face gave him away. It was deeply lined, like a roadmap starting someplace far away---Cincinnati, maybe, where he was born, or Yakima, Washington, where his daddy had had a truck farm; then Korea, where Sam had served in the war; and ending right here in Bladenham, Washington."

"Hannah's Dream" is a book without murder, sex, over-used profanity or needless, directionless thoughts. It is "just" a nice book. It is a relief from so many books that try too hard. The reader never feels like they are being manipulated or that the story is too contrived. "Hannah's Dream" is a blessed accession to the literary world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I also read this book and quite liked it! It was really refreshing to see a book with such heart and that also pulls at YOUR heart strings. Elephants are also very smart and I think that Diane Hammond did a very good job at portreying the intelligences of these animals. Two thumbs WWAAYYYY! up for this one!!!!