Title: Homer
Author: Mark Raab
Published on Kindle

I think we’ve established that I am a big fan of talking animals, so when Mark Raab, author of Homer asked me if I wanted to review his book, he pretty much had me at “taling dog.” I can’t tell you how often I wish my dogs could talk, or at least understand more English than “dinner time” and “get your ball.” Funny how when it benefits them, they understand just fine, but when it’s something like “stop barking at the neighbor’s cat” or “do not steal the boy’s food,” suddenly they’re clueless.

In Homer, Cliff and his wife Julia adopt a yellow lab on a whim (Julia’s whim). Less than 24 hours later, Julia falls ill and is bedridden. Homer keeps her company, and Julia talks to him as though he’s talking back. Everyone assumes it’s her meds or illness until Julia dies and Homer starts talking to Cliff. See, Homer can only talk to three people in his entire life, and only one at a time. So when he talks to Julia, he can’t talk to Cliff. When he talks to Cliff, he can no longer talk to Julia, but since she’s gone, that doesn’t really make a difference. If he decides to talk to someone else, he can never talk to Cliff again.

Homer helps Cliff get through the worst time of his life, and later helps Cliff move on. The story is relatively short- I read it in one windy afternoon- but it is incredibly sweet and wonderful. Despite his fluency in English, Homer is still very much a regular dog. He gets into mischief, torments the cranky neighbor lady, and pulls some crazy stunts on Cliff’s less than suitable dates. The story moves quickly, not going into too much detail during Cliff’s despondency over losing his wife, but the passage of time is clear enough so the reader understands that, although only a few pages have passed in the book, for Cliff it took more than a year to really feel ready to move on.

With plenty of humor mixed in to some very touching moments, Homer is ideal for a quick, casual Saturday read. The other selling point of the book for me was that the dog does not die. I don’t do well with sad animal stories, they affect me worse than sad people stories for some reason, so this was very important information. Despite the fact that it’s about a talking dog, this is a book for grown-ups. I would recommend it to anyone who loves talking animals, dogs in general, and stories about healing and moving forward after tragedy.