Marti Dumas is the friend of my friend and fellow Cannonballer, Katie. I recognized her name as I was browsing through Scribd’s selection of audiobooks. Warning, this book made me ugly cry, but I can assure you that no dragons die in this book.
Jackie is 10. She has 5 brothers that she calls the Js, even though one of them is Sam, and she herself is a J. She lives with her brothers and parents in New Orleans. Jackie is used to being in charge and being the responsible one. She is a good student.
One night she finds a strange chrysalis or egg on her snap dragon. She brings it into the house and monitors it’s growth. Once the chrysalegg hatches, the real adventure happens.
Jackie has her very own dragon and has to juggle keeping her secret safe and looking like everything is totally normal. Of course, it all falls apart. Jackie stops paying attention in school, she is lying to her parents and brothers, and asking one of her brothers to lie for her. Lies like that can’t be sustained and eventually you will spend all the credit you have earned.
The audiobook, read by the author, is lovely. Dumas’ voice is rich and soothing. Just short of 4 hours, I listened while sitting in bed, working on the computer with my dog, Spike, napping next to me. At one point while I was listening, and sobbing and not getting any work done, I startled Spike by yelling, “what kind of Where the Red Fern Grows bullshit is this?” I assure you, it is no kind of Where the Red Fern Grows.
Katie suggested I read this to my kids ethics class, but it is too long and too traumatic for 3 – 5 year olds. I will recommend it to the mother of one of the older kids. I will suggest it because in addition to being beautifully written, it gives wonderful examples of compassion.