Baby, June 1, 2009 (view all comments by Baby)
"Hannah's Dream" is a touching--and comic--story about loss and love. At the core, it is a love story between Hannah, a Burmese elephant who is the solitary elephant at a run-down zoo, and her keeper, Samson Brown. As Hannah is afflicted by her loss of contact with other elephants, so are the other, colorful, characters in this story (which includes Samson's wife, Corrina; the new zookeeper, Neva, and the zoo director, Harriet).
My minor quibble with this book is that I found the cast of characters a bit forced, and the story's insistence on their colorfulness a bit strained. There are plenty of lyrical and emotionally-true passages in this book that reading some of the zany character antics was a jarring experience to me, like catching unwanted glimpses of a backstage machine. However, I quickly forgot these small problems as I read through the book. I particularly love the last pages, which are filled with beautiful sentences that are packed with such emotions and feelings.
A lovely story, compassionately told.
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michaelsean, May 7, 2009 (view all comments by michaelsean)
Hannah's Dream by Diane Hammond has Disney movie written all over it. Lovable characters, a heart tugging animal (in this case a television watching elephant), and a goofy antagonist who is more dumb than evil. I picked this book up on a lark and was pleasantly surprised.
Sam Brown has been caring for Hannah the elephant for over 40 years. While low on academic pachyderm knowledge, Same is chalk full of practical elephant knowledge. As he is nearing his retirement his one true dream is to get Hannah involved in a sanctuary he his been seeing in his minds eye for years. Enter Neva. The brash and wily new elephant keeper who helps Sam realize hid dream for Hannah.
The book will alternately keep you laughing and crying over the course of reading it. Having recently read about the plight of Billy the elephant in the LA Zoo, it is also a very timely piece. Diane Hammond has done a wonderful job of reaching out to her readers with a touching and heartfelt story. Kudos to her.
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Denise Morland, September 18, 2008 (view all comments by Denise Morland)
On the surface "Hannah's Dream" is the story of a motley crew of characters who come together to save an elephant living in a run-down zoo. On a deeper level it's about how we find and choose the people who will become a part of our life's story.
I can't say strongly enough how much I loved this book! For me, it was all about the characters. I simply fell in love with each of them and became immersed in their story. From Johnson Johnson the eccentric artist to Truman the precise and careful accountant, Neva the expert elephant handler and Sam the intuitive one, even Miles the pig was irresistible! I was not ready to let any of them go by the end. This is a funny, generous, warm book that will leave you feeling good.
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Hammond (Going to Bend) shares the story of 'charismatic mega-vertebrate' Hannah, the elephant star of the failing Max L. Biedelman Zoo, in her sweet but slow third novel. Since the 1950s, Hannah; her loving caretaker, Sam; and the zoo have been languishing. Enter Harriet Saul, the zoo's ambitious new director, and Neva Wilson, an expert elephant keeper; both want to change things, but in different ways. Harriet's plan involves her dressing up as the eccentric zoo founder to give presentations and 'commissioning original theme music' for a publicity campaign. Neva's idea is to move the aging Hannah to an elephant sanctuary, a plan supported by nearly everyone, including the zoo's milquetoast business manager. If the conflict sounds weak, it is; the friendship between Hannah and Sam and the gently informational lessons about elephant care are more memorable than the late-breaking battle. The narrative, with its sprawling cast (and attendant relationships and personal histories), often bogs down, but the moments of genuine emotion will charm readers in search of a happy ending. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Booklist (Starred Review),
"Irresistibly touching, delectably uplifting, Hammond's understated yet gargantuan tale of devotion and commitment poignantly proves that love does indeed come in all shapes and sizes."
"Hannah's Dream runs at a quick pace but feels substantial, and the humorous bits sprinkled throughout make it a very satisfying read."
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