Monday, August 8, 2011

Book Review: Calling All Animal Lovers

     I was very excited when I received a courtesy copy of Thunder Dog from BookSneeze on behalf of Thomas Nelson Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I can honestly say that the authors of this book, Michael Hingson and Susy Flory, did an excellent job on changing my perception of life as a blind person. In Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero, Hingson who was blind since birth invites the reader into his life through vivid accounts of life as he grew up and the harrowing experience he encountered with his guide dog, Roselle, during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The two worked as a team to lead each other and encourage others to descend the staircase of stairwell B in the first tower to be attacked at the World Trade Center.
     As an avid animal lover, I am particularly drawn to stories recollecting inspiring accounts of animals and their heroic efforts. That is what first drew me into Hingson's story. However, within the first few pages I realized this was not just Roselle's story, but Michael's life story as well. Throughout Thunder Dog you get a glimpse of what life is like to be blind in a world that exalts itself on the visual. I wonder if my family treated my grandmother as an incompetent child when she suffered a stroke and subsequently lived out her last years in the dark. Hingson certainly accomplished bringing awareness for the blind to light.
     I also had the pleasure of joining a Facebook conversation with the authors on the day of the book's release. I was humbled to see his humility and passion for life. As I read Thunder Dog afterwards I wanted to know more of this man who perceives himself as living out his purpose to the glory of God. It's not too often you come across an individual who exudes a down-to-earth compassion wanting to reach out to others. That kept me drawn to the book.
     Of course I can't write a review without mentioning Roselle. Despite the chaos that enveloped them that terrible, fateful day, she remained calm at Hingson's side waiting for direction. As they made their way down from the 78th floor, she stayed faithful never flinching. Throughout the day Hingson and Roselle both drew on each other's strength resting in the assurance that they were together. Shouldn't we all be depending on one another, guiding each other to eternity?
     I read this book within two days, going to bed late because I couldn't put it down. Hingson and Flory relate the material in such a way that you feel you know Hingson personally. The words flow well, even as they take you from September 11th to his childhood days to his adult memories and back again. It never seemed to be choppy. The chapters are small enough for a quick reading break and captive enough to hold your complete attention. Thunder Dog is a book that one must read for themselves to understand why I love this book. I can't do this book justice with my words. Pick up a copy to be inspired for yourself!

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