Title: Thunder Dog: A Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero
Author: Michael Hingson, Susy Flory
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publish Date: Aug 2nd, 2011
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Received from Booksneeze for free in exchange for review, this is my real and true review.
I remember the morning of September 11th, 2001 like it was yesterday. I got on the bus to 8th grade and my friend told me that a plan hit a building in New York. I was like, “Okay, that is interesting”, thinking it was just a small commuter plan that went off course. It wasn’t until I got to school that I learned differently, especially after a report of another plan hitting a building next door. I was in Social Studies when the first tower fell, from that point forward the teachers knew we weren’t going to get much else done. I remember the panic and tears from my teachers who knew someone who might have been in the towers that day or in the Pentagon. The Presidents speech and the many days after. The world certainly changed that morning.
This book took me on a whole new journey and I really enjoyed traveling through something I have only experienced from the outside. The journey was especially interesting because it is told by a blind man. As you journey through the book, you not only see the courageousness of the author and his guide dog Roselle but you see just how being blind is not debilitating handicap as you might think it is.
Hingson lost his eyesight at birth because of the common practice of surrounding a preterm baby back in the 70s in oxygen which often led to the vessels constricting. A lot of his courageousness stems from his parents that never let his blindness be an issue. They refused to send him off to a special school wanting him to be as normal as possible. This freedom helped him develop skills to ride his bike and take walks unassisted much to the consternation of his neighbors. Throughout the book you travel though his journey and learn the hardships he has faced, but nothing like the ones brought on by the thoughtless acts of 9/11.
Hingson was working on floor 78 of tower one on that fateful morning -if his office was in tower two, he would have taken a direct hit by the 747-. He takes us through his journey down the countless flights of stairs with his friend and his guide dog. We also see the emotions of the chaos surrounding the fall of the first building and hear many stories of fellow New Yorkers who fled from the buildings. We also hear a lot about God, who is an important presence in the book, he even recounts a visit from God that helped him keep strength after the first tower fell. That and his guide dog.
I cried from start to finish of this quick read both when Hingson recounts his thoughts and feelings of 9/11 especially the homecoming of he and his wife, one that very many did not get to experience and as we saw his journey growing up. This book is both a testament to the wills of both dog and human as well a great teaching tool for anyone who finds themselves in the presence of someone who is blind. I am glad that a teaching opportunity and that hopefully this will help lessen the prejudices we see when encountering the blind.