Monday, December 17, 2012

A Christmas Home by Greg Kincaid

A Christmas Home: A Novel by Greg Kincaid

“Todd McCray, hero of A Dog Named Christmas, is now twenty-four years old and working at a local animal shelter, where he meets and quickly becomes best friends with Laura, a young volunteer. Laura, like Todd, has disabilities of her own, but her struggles are more physical than developmental. Their friendship is sealed when Todd—with the help of his trusted companion, the tenacious Labrador retriever named Christmas—trains a beautiful dog named Gracie to help Laura with the day-to-day life tasks that are difficult for her.
Life seems good for Todd, but all is not well in his hometown. Struggling families unable to make ends meet are abandoning more and more dogs, and the shelter is swelling to capacity. The local government is struggling to meet its obligations too, and in early December, on the cusp of another holiday season, Todd’s boss delivers the bad news. Due to funding problems, the shelter will close its doors before the end of the year. But what will happen to all the animals?
As the Christmas holiday approaches, Todd has limited time to find homes for all the dogs. Not to mention that he needs to secure a new job and figure out what to do when his friendship with Laura takes an unexpected romantic turn. All this seems overwhelming unless you’ve got a loving family, dedicated friends, and a couple of very special dogs behind you. In which case, nothing is impossible.” (book jacket summary)

The folks at Crown publishing sent me a copy of A Christmas Home for review. The plot focuses on Todd, a young man with learning disabilities, that has found a niche training dogs. He is employed by the town’s dog shelter, but his life is thrown into crisis when the mayor announces that a lack of funding has made it imperative for the shelter to close. Todd has to work together with his friends at the shelter to find homes for the dogs before they are sent away to kill shelters. I found that I really liked Todd’s character. He defied the typical stereotypes of a hero and I admired his dedication as he worked with dogs and the skills he developed as he trained them. There is a cute sweet romance story between himself and a girl named Laura. I sometimes felt like the plot depended too much on the dog shelter conflict and that there needed to be more to the story, but this was still a unique and enjoyable Christmas story. Also, it has a happy ending! Usually Christmas story matched up with dog equals depressing but I found this tale to have a satisfying and uplifting ending.

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