Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Roam by Alan Lazar

Genre: General Fiction
Release Date: 1st November 2011
Pages: 336
Book Source: Simon & Schuster & NetGalley

Synopsis: It's the dog owner's greatest fear, even worse in some ways than a beloved pet dying. Your dog getting lost - missing for days, then weeks, perhaps gone forever. Roam is the story of a dog named Nelson who follows his nose one day and gets lost, becoming separated from his anxious owner.

Roam follows Nelson on his eight-year stray away from home, until one day he is miraculously reunited with his family. Through it all, Nelson maintains his optimistic spirit and unflagging yearning for the Great Love, his first human owner, a concert pianist named Katey. He never stops longing for her, and she in turn never stops searching for him.

Lazar's skillful rendering of a dog's cognitive, sensory, and emotional life celebrates the extraordinary magical power of dogs, showing what this scrappy little mutt with a courageous heart can teach us humans. This deeply moving story of families, the human condition, and longing in America will deeply affect readers and remind them of the healing powers of survival and enduring love.

What sets this "lost dog" story apart from others is that it's told from Nelson's point of view. Nelson being the half beagle half poodle protagonist and a fiercely inquisitive, loyal, bright, and courageous dog.

Author, Alan Lazar is also a composer and the soundtrack he's written and performed is embedded in the text of Roam. Using your smart phone you can scan the tag and listen to tracks such as "The Smell of Grass" and "The Great Love." If that sounds a wee bit complicated then visit the author's website and listen to the seven part soundtrack; it really does enhance the reading experience.

The matter-of-fact narration is an unusual combination; simply worded in parts, purely sensory in others, blunt to the point of cringing in places but also emotionally engaging. All tied together with a huge helping of the scents that are an integral part of Nelson's life experience. 

This is a fictional story but there are similar true stories where dogs like Nelson display extraordinary courage, lifelong loyalty, unconditional love and go to incredible lengths to be reunited with their own Great Loves.

Nelson's love for Katey is palpable, it oozes off the page, it made me smile, it made me tear up and it had me giving our little Bella an extra cuddle or two. Nelson's experiences and adventures in his 8 years apart from Katey are both sad and heartwarming.

Apologies in advance for this teensy weensy spoiler but if you're anything like me and a total sucker for animal stories and a big sookie (I howled in Marley & Me and Red Dog) then you'll appreciate knowing that Roam has a happy, happy ending :)

The unconditional love we humans receive from our furry friends is like no other.
Visit Alan Lazar's website to find out more.


  1. It's one of those books where I could dry my eyes out, i just can't read books about animals or watch movies

  2. I loved your review,, so descriptive and yes, this sounds like one I would love to read!

  3. Ohhhhhh I need to read this!!! Sounds good! :):):):):):):):):):):)

  4. Excellent review and I can totally see myself tearing up over this lost dog. Don't think I can read this one right now, since I'm still missing my Lucky. But I'll keep it in mind for the future. I love the soundtrack idea too.


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