Sunday, January 13, 2019

Maxi's Secrets by Lynn Plourde


Timminy, the boy telling this story, lets the reader know right from the start, "My dog, Maxi, dies." 

Being forewarned, we are drawn into a tale of a boy who moves with his family to a new town where his dad will be the principal of his middle school.

Timminy dreads the move, partly because of his short stature and dread of being bullied and not fitting in. His parents, knowing how hard this move is for him, let him get a dog. Maxi is a beautiful Great Pyrenees, that the family soon discovers is deaf. When they learn this, Timminy embraces his dog even more, since he knows what it's like to be a little different.

While Timminy is correct about having to handle bullies and rude kids, he learns ways to deal with it. In time he meets his neighbor Abby, who is blind but doesn't let it define her. 

Maxi, Timminy, and Abby form a somewhat unlikely trio, but one that works extremely well together.

Though Maxi plays a large part in this book, her illness and death are handled in a way that could prove inspirational to others facing a like situation.

The author puts it all a little more succinctly: 
Lynn Plourde Yes, Maxi dies at the end of the book--the beginning of the book lets the reader know that--so, yes, a book with tears, but also with laughter. Maxi is Timminy's deaf dog. Timminy's next door neighbor is Abby, a blind girl. He also has a neighbor named Rory, whose nickname is Beast of the East because he is so large. Timminy is the shortest kid at his school. It is a book about FITTING IN.

My Thoughts

What Concerned Me: Nothing

What I Liked Most: Each chapter ends with a secret that Timminy picked up from living with Maxi. A secret that applies to life in general. The relationship and growth of the characters encourage learning and understanding.  Though this book has all the markings of possibly being a bit didactic, the messages are extremely subtle and woven beautifully throughout the story.

Publishers Weekly probably says it best. "This story is a tender reminder that perceived shortcomings don't define us and that the power of friendship can't be underestimated.”

Author: Lynn Plourde
Publisher: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (August 2017)
Pages: 272 (hardcover)

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