Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

20575434Rose Howard has three things that she likes, words, rules and numbers. Rose especially likes homophones, because her first name has one Rose (Rows). Rose is eleven and lives with her father in Hatford, New York. She attends elementary school, but has been held back because “no one is sure what to do with me in school.” Rose is a high-functioning autistic child with some repetitive and compulsive behaviors. She loves to add to her list of homophones, obsesses over prime numbers, the following of rules, as well as following a daily routine. Rose's main supports are her fifth-grade teacher, her classroom aide, her Uncle Weldon and most importantly is her dog Rain (Reign, Rein). Rain is the dog Rose's father found behind the Irish Pub that he frequents. He explains to Rose that the dog is a stray and now it's his gift to her. When a terrible storm hits their community, Rose is devastated to find that her dog is missing and very perplexed to find out that her dad let Rain outside during the storm without his collar. Rose develops a plan to try and find her dog, but when Rain shows up at a shelter with a microchip indicating her name is Olivia, Rose knows that the rules dictate that Rain isn't really hers. Rose is able to take the family of the dog's perspective and knows that she will have to let Rain go.

Having the story told by Rose really gives an accurate perspective of her thoughts and feelings. Who better to explain Asperger's syndrome, her school life and home life than Rose herself? Rose presents herself in such an honest, heartfelt way. She has so many positive qualities that get highlighted in her story. She defiantly shows a love for her dog and Uncle. Rose explains everything, like why she can't ride the bus anymore, why she has an aide sitting with her during class and at lunch, and why she counts prime numbers and has to sit in the hall until she calms down. Rose explains her need for routine, and how and why people need to follow the rules. So when Rain ends up in her class one day, and Rose begins to talk about Rain using some of the conversation starters that her aide has been teaching her, you root for her to be able to form connections with the other children. The way the story is written gives a fuller understanding of who Rose is strengths and weaknesses. She pulls at your heart strings, especially when she introduces her father, and how he treated her with a lack of patience and understanding.  Which makes his abusiveness that more troubling. Rose's Uncle was the one glimmer of hope in her life and I was so happy for the changes that occurred in Rose's home and school environment. Overall, a wonderful heartfelt story of a lovely girl and her beloved dog.

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