I first learned of Amy Shojai’s book Lost and Found through Blogpaws, a site for pet bloggers and received a free copy from Story Cartel in exchange for an unbiased review. Promoted as a dog-viewpoint thriller, it grabbed my attention. I usually prefer memoirs and non-fiction dog-themed books, but thought the dog-related theme worth a try.
I wasn’t disappointed. Overall, this book was an enjoyable and entertaining read. Unfortunately, its autistic-children-get-violent theme may not be as readily received following the Newtown shooting. Readers sensitive to this should be aware. That said, Shojai does seem to have some knowledge or at the very least done some research on autism and weaves a story with a variety of twists and turns. I saw some of them coming, but like a good episodic television show, I still found myself entertained.
This was not what I expected when I first opened the book. Chapter One begins “September Day sloshed another half-cup of coffee” and the only thing that kept me reading passed this sentence was to discover if Shojai was serious in dubbing her character or if there was some joke to be revealed. Unfortunately, the name seems to be intentional and was made worse by the fact that September’s sister is named April and their maiden names January. These monikers are so ridiculous they took me out of the story for a moment, but I pressed on and a few pages in found myself impressed. Describing September’s cat, Shojai writes, “Macy paced. His tail dry-painted September’s cheek and wove in and out of her long wavy mane. Green slanted eyes, coffee-dark hair, hidden claws and enigmatic smile – she’d been told more than once that she and the cat matched in both personality and looks.” Now, this was a description worth reading!
Also, impressive was Shojai’s handling of Shadow, the therapy pup. When Shojai is writing in Shadow’s voice, the story is at its best. By writing from the dog’s point of view, Shojai is able to reveal true insights into the dog-human bond. I would have loved to hear even more from Shadow and wouldn’t mind reading a sequel from his point of view.
The book could have used more careful editing. Half way through a dog named Bruno becomes Jet for a few pages before reverting back to Bruno again, which I found a bit disconcerting, but overall this is a fun read if you can get passed the darker elements. I recommend it for the Shadow parts alone.