Chester and Gus – A book review

Chester and GusChester and Gus by Cammie McGovern

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book stole my heart.

I am a firm believer that animals have more capabilities than their people give them credit for. This book shows how a dog that thought of himself as a failure worked hard to find a new purpose in life.

Chester was trained to be a service dog, but after he failed his certification because he hates out noises, he thought he’d never get another chance. When a family comes along in search of a friend for their autistic son, Gus, Chester bring it upon himself to help this boy like he knows he can.

After a lot of time spent observing the boy, Chester learns the dos and don’ts of life with Gus. Don’t make too much noise. Don’t get too close to him. Don’t lick him. Don’t ask too many questions.

That’s right. Chester finds himself bonded to this boy in such a way that he can’t even describe it at first. Gus, who doesn’t talk, seems to understand the things that Chester asks him and he answers back (some of the time). Using this new tool for communication, Chester gets Gus to trust him because he needs him now more than ever. But Chester has just been told he’s not allowed in school anymore because he’s not a certified service dog.

Strange things have been going on with Gus lately and it all comes to a head once the fire alarms go off at school. Being frightened at first, Chester loses track of Gus but forces his way to his boy. He finds Gus passed out in a closet and Gus is taken to the hospital for a few days.

Gus has epilepsy.

Now Chester has a renewed sense of responsibility for the boy and their relationship changes daily.

Can Chester be the dog that Gus needs him to be?

I love that this book is told from the perspective of a dog. He thinks about how hard it is to communicate with humans because they assume they know what’s best. He is also a firm believer that (despite popular opinion) dog cannot read, but he uses other clues to figure out what words mean.

The way that Chester slowly falls in love with Gus is absolutely perfect. As someone on the spectrum myself, when I meet new people or start new relationships, everything has to move very slow. Just ask my boyfriend 🙂

This is a book thatI felt connected to from the beginning. In fact, once I started reading it, I didn’t put it down.

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Day Two: My Favorite Quote

If you know me, then you know that I quote movies and TV shows constantly. And it’s usually not well known TV shows or movies, so I usually have to explain them (unless you’re my sister Brittany who always understands my jokes). It’s hard for me to pick my favorite quote of all time, but I think I’ll use the one that helps me out in times of great distress.

“A hug is like an emotional Heimlich. Someone puts their arms around you, give you a squeeze, and all of your fears and worries come shooting out of your mouth in a big wet wad and you can breathe again.”

That quote, my friends, is from one of my favorite shows, “Pushing Daisies.” Bryan Fuller, you’re a genius.

The reason I love this quote so much is because it’s accurate. Considering I was not much of a hugger growing up, (I’m autistic, being touchy-feely is not really our thing) I have come to recognize the effects that a good hug can have on your mood. Knowing that someone is there that feels for you (not necessarily understands but wants to) is a freeing power that hugs provide.

Just thinking about it makes you feel better, right?