Rachel was so upset that I didn't finish the book yet, and said she is never reading the blog again. So, I decided that losing even one reader was more than I could handle, so we HAD to finish the most depressing book in the world. We needed a few days break before we had enough courage and strength to get through the book, but last night, we did it. The ending redeemed itself, but I swear, if there happens to be a sequel, we are not interested in it.
So, before bedtime, we gathered 'round the king bed, and snuggled up to finish the book, "Lassie Come-Home." When we last left off, Joe had to gruffly tell Lassie to stay with the Duke, and that they didn't want her home. However, Lassie read through the emotion, and felt the sadness and confusion in Joe's voice, even though his face told her a different emotion. Let me give you the Cliff Note version from here on... Lassie gets taken to Scotland, which took days by train. It was long and hard on the animals back in the day. Of course it was. We have come to expect that from this book. Then, while there, she is mistreated by the same Bozo that was charged with keeping her groomed and fed. Priscilla, the granddaughter, helps to let Lassie escape, and the tortured life doesn't stop there. She must find her way home, and that is a YEAR of agony= two final sections of our book= more "watery" eyes.
Lassie was hungry, cold, tired, her fur matted so badly that she was hardly recognizable as a collie. In her front paw, within a hundred miles, and a mere 8 weeks into her long journey, a thorn dug deep, and eventually, that will cause infection. Wait for it. Her internal compass set for south, she struggled to find the direction needed to get through the water that separates Scotland from England. Finally, she went into the water, and gets swallowed into a current. Then, she has a group of five boys who see her near lifeless body, and they begin to through rocks at her. Nice. No freakin' manners.
"The current finally drove her to a calm spot. With the last strength in her body, she paddled to shore. Water charged up from her stomach and lungs." Wow. Lucky she made it. "She dragged herself shivering beneath an old rusted furnace to let the fever course through her." Naturally. Rusted. The author is all negative about everything. "The thorn took a week to work out of the pad of Lassie's forepaw. The infection gone, the fever broke, she struggled to her feet and went on, light-headed with hunger." Lest we not forget hunger. I was ready to run downstairs and feed Brody a Milk Bone and check his paws. You just never can be too sure.
Next, Lassie wanders into a village, and is caught in a dog catchers' net and beaten. Right. Because that is what you do to a dog that is just wandering in the street- beat them. Not so much. He escapes, and in the escape, a twenty foot jump to the cobblestone below, she separates one of her shoulders, and yelps in pain as she limps away.
She tries to carry on, but sleep did not heal the shoulder or ease the sickness that had settled in her chest. Jeez. Bitch can't catch a break! She blacked out as she was crossing a river, and was carried to the other side and then, without knowing it, she was back in England. Her cries, "soft as a kitten," went unnoticed by anyone, as she was out in the wilderness, alone, hurting, starving, and yearning to be back in the arms of her boy and his family. Okay, that is not in the book, but anything in quotes is totally in the book. I am just taking liberties and stating the obvious. I don't want you to miss a nuance of this book. (I love you Rachel. Enough that I will relive this heinous book again for you.)
An elderly couple find her, near death, and nurse her back to health. They even rename her. They had no money, and very little food, and literally give her half of everything they had to eat. Each day, at four o'clock, the wife notices how agitated Lassie becomes, and one day, decides to let her go on with her journey. Lassie pauses at the door, and glances back for permission. The wife send her off with a prayer.
During the next leg of the journey, she again goes hungry, gets into a horrific fight with a farmer's dog, and loses a lot of blood. Holy hell. About four pages ago I handed the book to Geoff. By this point, I thought I caught him looking at me like, "What the hell are we reading to our kids?" He read to the end but admitted that there were times that he struggled. I should have asked Shayna to pass the tissues his direction. Lassie recovers from the dog fight by staying in a kind families' barn, and they cover her with horse blankets and fed her scraps of food.
Time for more torture. I mean, to move on. It is cold. The harsh weather has caused the ice to stick to her fur and in between her paws, and now, she is numb. Well, she finally made it and fell into the school yard, and lay there, until Joe came out and saw her. All she could do was thump her tail in excitement. Joe carried her home, and when he swung the house door open, Joe's father cried. They nursed her to health, and the next page is Priscilla standing beside her grandfather, the Duke, and seeing Joe and his beloved Lassie running in the meadow below the window they are at. The Duke has to explain that he had to hire on the family in order to get Lassie back, and that is how they came to have their happy ending. Basically, the father become a slave for the Duke in order to keep Lassie and his boy together. But it isn't worded exactly like that.
Rachel-- I hope you liked it!