Jake's 88 year old grandfather, Billy, is going to live forever. A least that's what Jake thinks. They spend a lot of time together and
Jake is told about the "sod house" where the family first settled. When Billy is hospitalized, Jake builds a sod house for him.
Reviewed by: Frank Hodge, Bookseller Emeritus, New York, USA
Wait, I need to blow my nose again... okay, so Patricia MacLachlan does it again. Whenever I finish one of her books, I sit and wonder what it is she does so well... try to define it. It won't take you more than 35 minutes to read through this book but it will stay with you for a long, long time. It's one of those. She reaches to your soul... to that Invisible Self that Katherine Paterson speaks of... the deepest self we have and she talks to it. Talk about meaningful. Geez. This is so much better for our children than the expensive sneakers and the most recent video game. Here's where we really live.
Set on a farm with its rich cycles of life and death, this is the story of a boy named Jake and his grandfather, Billy, age eighty-eight. Billy has a presence that reaches each member of the family uniquely and Billy has a dog named Lucy who showed up one day to become his Angel Dog. Summer has arrived and Jake is looking forward to spending time with Billy. As they walk across the prairie one afternoon, Lucy discovers a piece of the old sod house where Billy was born and raised and that's when Billy gets the idea that Jake should build him a new house of sod. Jake resists but only until he faces the fact that he's afraid his sod house won't be good enough. (Ring a bell with anyone? Worried you might disappoint?)
Then, Billy gets sick and has to go to the hospital. Now the master storyteller goes to work. There is the love and respect between the doctor and her patient. There is the unspoken love between brothers. There is the coming together to build the sod house. Will this man ever return to see the house? Is Lucy the dog truly an angel? Our souls, our invisible selves, can connect in the most beautiful, most meaningful and most powerful ways through love. This is a story of many kindred souls. Wait, I have to go blow my nose again.
From my invisible self to yours, Barb