Ann M. Martin
Performed by Laura Hamilton
Published by: Brilliance Audio
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Rose is a fifth grade student who has Asperger's syndrome who is obsessed with homonyms. Her name is a homonym (rose, rows) and she gives her dog the name rain, which has two other homonyms (rain, reign, rein). She lives with her father who often seems overwhelmed with raising a daughter who is so different from her peers and spends a lot of time at the bar down the road. When a hurricane hits, Rose and her father are stranded at their home out in the country and Rain is accidently let out without his collar. With the help of her uncle, her teachers, and even her classmates, Rose sets out to find her beloved pet.
I have been reading Ann M. Martin books since I was a kid--big Baby-Sitters Club fan back in the day--so of course I picked this up. It was beautiful! Rose is such a lovable character and within the first few chapters you feel like you need to take care of her, to help her. As a teacher and a former personal aide for a student very similar to Rose, I felt that Rose's character was very well done. I believed in this character more than I do in many other characters in literature. She likes homonyms, rules, and prime numbers, and tries to talk about them with everyone. Her classmates are somewhat tolerant of her, but laugh at her behind their teachers' backs. Her father isn't doing the best job, although I think it's the best he's capable of doing, but she has her uncle who loves her and "gets" her. Although you break inside when Rose says that she knows most kids don't need a helper with them all day long, both her personal aide and her teacher are wonderful with Rose.
One thing that made listening to the story a bit off putting was that Rose noted every homonym she said by spelling out the word she meant and its homonym. In writing, I don't see this being an issue, but listening to the story, I found myself focusing on the spellings and missing a bit. At the same time, if I was actually speaking with Rose, I'm sure she would speak this way and therefore it might be confusing or strange to listen to, but it makes sense to Rose.
I would definitely suggest this books to all readers. Young readers will connect with Rose and her relationship with her dog, as well as the feeling and understanding that you are different from your peers. Adults will be drawn into Rose's story--but make sure you have some kleenex available. There were multiple times throughout the book where I teared up.
Image Source: Goodreads
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