Review: When Friendship Followed Me Home

Review:Friendship Followed

When Friendship Followed Me Home

Author: Paul Griffin

Publisher: Dial Book for Young Readers, 2016

Source: Public library

Rating: ****

Ben Coffin doesn’t try to make friends. Ben doesn’t want them. People come and go in Ben’s life far too regularly for him to dare to get attached. When Ben was a baby he was abandoned by his mother, dropped off at a police station. They found evidence of drugs in his blood, so he was never adopted. Instead he was put into the foster care system, and there people come and go, frequently and easily – and often, painfully.

Then at age ten, a speech pathologist named Tess Coffin recognizes what a special person Ben is and adopts him. For the first time ever he has a stable life situation. He has a mom. He goes to school where he has some friends. He spends his afternoons at the library. Here a caring librarian gives him book suggestions and advice. While at the library, he meets a very unique girl who is destined to become someone very important to Ben. One day, a stray dog follows him home from the library. Tess and Ben try to contact his owner but when no one comes forward, Mom lets him keep it. He names the loving little dog Flip.

But life does not come with guarantees, and it seems whenever Ben gets close to someone, he loses them. No spoilers but lots of these characters “disappear.” Ben comments, “I was used to seeing people disappear. Except you never got used to it” (pg. 94). How can he ever get close to people with all the losses he experiences? Or is there something more – something magic – then Ben has yet to learn?

When Friendship Followed Me Home is both heart-breaking and heart-warming. Ben and Flip are both such lovable characters that it is easy to take them right into your heart.

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