Recently, I was hunting at the library for my next book to read when I came across Elizabeth Kelly’s ‘The Miracle on Monhegan Island’. Typically I stick with mysteries, but the fun, summery cover caught my eye, and I love all things Monhegan, so I thought I’d give it a try.
It took a whole chapter for me to realize that Ned, the narrator in this novel, is a dog. Yes, it is Ned the dog’s voice we hear as the story unfolds. I thought this was really bizarre, and to be honest, it just didn’t appeal to me as a reader. So I put it down, not intending to pursue it any further. Later, I thought to myself that perhaps I may be missing out on a really great story, so I decided to give it another chance. I am very glad I did.
It turns out that ‘The Miracle on Monhegan Island’ is surprisingly serious and quite thought-provoking. In fact, while reading, I jotted down several poignant quotes. Early on, we are introduced to Spark (a human) who at first appears to be very one-dimensional. However, we soon realize there is a lot more to him than his flawed but colorful character. As Ned (the dog) narrates, he is quite astute in his philosophical comments on humanity. The novel is actually about a truly dysfunctional family just trying to do the best they can. I think we can all relate to that in some way. The story is an odd combination of dark humor, religion, faith, mental illness, and ultimately, love.
I am so glad I gave this book a second chance. Once I re-started it, I couldn’t put it down. It is so different than anything I’ve ever read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
~Sarah Duffy, Library Assistant