The Wonder of Lost Causes is a truly heart wrenching story that involves a single mother, her much loved son who suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, and a dog. The story is written in a light style and is understated in the seriousness of all aspects of their life. The introduction of a gentle but pervasive humour lightens the tale, and we see that this family’s values never diminish even during difficult times. For animal lovers, the magic that exists between the boy and his dog will be a special feature.
When the story begins, we find that single mum, Kate, is a vet, who works tirelessly at an animal shelter. For each dog that comes to the shelter, there is a time period when adoption is possible. After that time has elapsed, depending on space, the dog will be put down if it has not been taken by a family.
When Whistler comes to the shelter, he is in a pretty poor condition. It is clear he has been illtreated, and bears scars, and sores on his body. Kate’s son, Jasper, comes to the shelter after school each day and knows all of the animals there. An instant connection forms between him and the big, black dog. When someone says, “I wonder what his name is?” Jasper looks at the dog and immediately replies, “Whistler.”
No one believes that Jasper has communicated with the dog, and his mother explains to him why that can’t happen. However, the two develop a bond that grows all the time. Kate battles Jasper’s Cystic Fibrosis daily and supervises his doses of medication. Some of the medication affects his hearing and his growth, but the small family share so much love that mostly they cope well. There are some humorous moments when Kate and Jasper argue and Kate realises that he is arguing rationally as an adult, and she as the child.
When the family hear that a reward for Whistler has been posted, they face a great dilemma. Kate knows it will break Jasper’s heart to part with the dog, but he was correct in knowing that Jasper has a special gift and was an invaluable support for a young girl. Things move quite quickly once the original owner is found, and a scenario evolves that suits all.
Kate writes one chapter, and Jasper writes the next. This adds to the humour, especially when the Mother has a conversation and doesn’t know that Jasper is listening. In the next chapter, he reports that this is how his Mum is thinking and so he plans to change her thoughts. The reader will learn a lot about Cystic Fibrosis, and its devastating effects on the young, although at no time do the pair fall into despair or the story become melancholy.
|Publisher||Allen and Unwin|
|Distributor||Allen and Unwin|