Buddy, by M. H. Herlong, was my St. Patrick's Day snow read. I had to encourage Merl to get off of my lap twice so I could get more tissues. This is a powerful story about love, loss, friendship, family, disaster, pain, recovery and so much more. In 2005 the mighty Hurricane Katrina nearly wiped out the city of "brotherly love." It wasn't just the initial hit of the storm, but the decay of the infrastructure that lead to the evacuation of approximately 1.5 million people from their homes. Nearly 2,000 people died in Louisiana as result of the storm, and scores more were killed in neighboring states. Many others were still missing weeks after the waters receded..
Less than a decade later, M.H. Herlong writes a punch-in-your gut story about a boy, Lil'T and a three-legged dog, Buddy. Lil'T's ' Buddy. Needless to say it is a story of lost and found. Nothing in this book is easy. Even Lil'T's chance meeting with the dog is painful. The stray dog is struck by the car Lil'T's dad is driving to church. The congregation rallies to pay for the dog's medical expenses, and in turn, it is because of Buddy that a congregant is helped by Lil'T.
Lil'T and his family are poor before the hurricane and totally wiped out after the disaster. But they have each other, their faith, and their unwavering determination to persevere. That resolve is what keeps Lil'T working to get Buddy back, long, long after the levees broke.
Be forewarned. It's not exactly a happy ending, but the right ending. Buddy was the perfect snow read to devour with Merl on my lap, Nigel by my feet and Charlotte being Charlotte -- getting into trouble.