Title: Harvey Comes Home
Author: Colleen Nelson
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Publisher: Pajama Press
Release Date: September 19, 2019
A dog’s world is a world of scents, of adventure. When a runaway West Highland Terrier named Harvey wanders out of his old life guided only by his nose and his heart, lives begin to converge.
Austin, a young volunteer at Brayside retirement home, quickly finds that the audacious Harvey inspires Mr. Pickering, a bitter resident coping with memory loss, to tell stories of his childhood. Moved by the elderly man’s Dust Bowl recollections of grinding poverty and the perseverance of his friends and family, Austin begins to trade his preconceived notions for empathy. But is it enough to give him the resolve to track down Harvey’s original owner?
Supported by striking illustrations from acclaimed artist Tara Anderson, Colleen Nelson immerses readers in a rich and unflinchingly human tale of struggle and hope—all inspired by one curious dog.
This story had a unique format. The chapters alternate perspectives between Austin (the boy who found Harvey), Maggie (the girl whose family owns Harvey), and Harvey (the dog). I liked that we got to see the different sides to the story including the girl who desperately wanted her pet returned and the boy who had always longed for a dog. The dog’s perspective was original because he was stuck in between wanting to go home to Maggie and wanting to stay with Austin.
There were some upsetting parts to this story. The idea of losing my dog kept running through my head while I was reading this story. There were also some disturbing flashbacks to when Mr. Pickering, one of the retirement home residents who loved Harvey, was a child and his own experience with his own dog. That included when his dog lost his leg and eventually died. Those parts were incredibly sad to read.
Though this story broke my heart a little, the optimistic title kept me reading. I enjoyed the overall book, though there were some difficult scenes.
Thank you Pajama Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
Sadia by Colleen Nelson
Have you read Harvey Comes Home? What did you think of it?