Hannah's Dream: A Novel

Hannah's Dream: A Novel

4.3 72
by Diane Hammond
     
 

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An elephant never forgets . . . but can she dream?

For forty-one years, Samson Brown has been caring for Hannah, the lone elephant at the down-at-the-heels Max L. Biedelman Zoo. Having vowed not to retire until an equally loving and devoted caretaker is found to replace him, Sam rejoices when smart, compassionate Neva Wilson is hired as the new elephant

Overview

An elephant never forgets . . . but can she dream?

For forty-one years, Samson Brown has been caring for Hannah, the lone elephant at the down-at-the-heels Max L. Biedelman Zoo. Having vowed not to retire until an equally loving and devoted caretaker is found to replace him, Sam rejoices when smart, compassionate Neva Wilson is hired as the new elephant keeper. But Neva quickly discovers what Sam already knows: that despite their loving care, Hannah is isolated from other elephants and her feet are nearly ruined from standing on hard concrete all day. Using her contacts in the zookeeping world, Neva and Sam hatch a plan to send Hannah to an elephant sanctuary—just as the zoo's angry, unhappy director launches an aggressive revitalization campaign that spotlights Hannah as the star attraction, inextricably tying Hannah's future to the fate of the Max L. Biedelman Zoo.

A charming, poignant, and captivating novel certain to enthrall readers of Water for Elephants, Diane Hammond's Hannah's Dream is a beautifully told tale rich in heart, humor, and intelligence.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Hammond (Going to Bend) shares the story of "charismatic mega-vertebrate" Hannah, the elephant star of the failing Max L. Biedelman Zoo, in her sweet but slow third novel. Since the 1950s, Hannah; her loving caretaker, Sam; and the zoo have been languishing. Enter Harriet Saul, the zoo's ambitious new director, and Neva Wilson, an expert elephant keeper; both want to change things, but in different ways. Harriet's plan involves her dressing up as the eccentric zoo founder to give presentations and "commissioning original theme music" for a publicity campaign. Neva's idea is to move the aging Hannah to an elephant sanctuary, a plan supported by nearly everyone, including the zoo's milquetoast business manager. If the conflict sounds weak, it is; the friendship between Hannah and Sam and the gently informational lessons about elephant care are more memorable than the late-breaking battle. The narrative, with its sprawling cast (and attendant relationships and personal histories), often bogs down, but the moments of genuine emotion will charm readers in search of a happy ending. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Susan McCarthy
“A pleasure to read. HANNAH’S DREAM is gently unpredictable. It’s full of suspense – but not unbearable suspense. There’s a missing document, a devoted pig, and a villain with a pith helmet and a riding crop. Most of all, there’s an elephant and the people who really love her.”
Booklist (starred review)
“Irresistibly touching, delectably uplifting, Hammond’s understated yet gargantuan tale of devotion and commitment poignantly proves that love does indeed come in all shapes and sizes.”
Booklist
"Irresistibly touching, delectably uplifting, Hammond’s understated yet gargantuan tale of devotion and commitment poignantly proves that love does indeed come in all shapes and sizes."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061982644
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/06/2009
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
176,762
File size:
918 KB

Read an Excerpt


Hannah's Dream

A Novel



By Diane Hammond
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2008

Diane Hammond
All right reserved.



ISBN: 9780061568251


Chapter One

Samson Brown loved exactly two things in this world: his wife and his elephant. He nearly loved lots of others, of course, and had loved dearly some who were now dead and gone—his folks, his twin brother Jimmy, an old blue dog he'd had once—but real love, in the here-and-now, he reserved for Corinna and Hannah. He knew it, and he made sure they knew it, too. Loving that hard and exclusive didn't make up for the things he couldn't give them—and there were lots of things he couldn't give them—but it went a ways. To a man like Sam, a realistic man, that was something.

The hot-poker truth about the limitations of love was something they'd learned from the dead baby girl Corinna had delivered forty-three years ago, a perfect child with hands as small and tight as fiddleheads. The grief had nearly killed them, grief as solid and mean and unyielding as an anvil that they'd carried with them everywhere until they were shaking from the weight of it and had no choice but to put it down. The doctor had told them there was nothing they could have done to bring their baby out alive; things like that just happened, he said, and sometimes no one knew why. Whatever the reason, the loss of that baby had changed them forever, especially Corinna, a woman who'd wanted only three things out oflife: Sam, a child to raise, and a reasonably good relationship with the Lord. She'd gotten Sam all these years. Her relationship with the Lord was another thing.

Still, at sixty-five Corinna was solid as an old tree, someone you could get a purchase on even in a high wind. Many a time she'd kept him going, this big, beautiful woman who always had time when people came to talk or asked her thoughts about something. And Lord God, but Corinna did have her thoughts. I've got opinions I'll give away for free to anybody who wants them, she was fond of saying. Sam's already heard them all, and God stopped listening a long time ago. And she'd laugh a laugh that was like warm syrup pouring from a jug.


Sam turned at the corner of Powers and Luke Street and then into the Dunkin' Donuts drive-through. "Hey," he greeted Rayette at the window.

"Hey, sugar," she said. Rayette was a nice-looking young woman who wore her hair in a million tiny braids Corinna did for her once a month. One thing about Rayette, she always made sure she looked good, never mind anything that might be going on with her two kids and occasional husband—and it seemed like there was always something going on. "You want Bavarian cream today? They just came out," she asked him.

"Nah. She doesn't like them as much as she used to. How about two custards and a jelly? You got any of those strawberry ones? She likes those best."

"Sure thing, hon." Rayette ducked inside.

She'd been selling him donuts for years. When she fetched up at the window again, holding his bag of donuts and some coffee, he asked her, "How long have you been doing Dunkin' Donuts? Ten years, maybe?"

"More like fourteen, honey. Where've you been?" Rayette frowned. "Be fifteen at the end of November." It was September, now. "We're getting old, hon."

"Don't I know it," Sam said, shaking his head. Rayette held onto the bag of donuts for him while he fussed up some change from under the driver's seat. "Shoot. I'm sorry, I know I've got another couple quarters down here—" He found them and handed them over. Rayette passed him the donut bag and a cup of coffee hot enough to scald a rhino. One time Sam hadn't set his cup securely and it had tipped while he was driving, raising up a nice big blister on his leg. He knew why that woman had won her lawsuit against McDonald's, even if most people thought she was a gold digger.

"What happened to that new girl you had?" he asked, stowing the coffee in a cup holder clear on the other side of the car. "She gone already?"

"Well, you know how they are. Kids got no staying power these days, think they should get rich overnight and when it doesn't happen they dump you like it was your fault."

"Mmmm hmmm." Sam breathed in the scent of donuts. He'd had to give them up a year ago, when he was diagnosed with the diabetes.

"Corinna said you were thinking about retirement again," Rayette said, leaning out the drive-through window on her elbows.

"Yeah, I've been thinking about it."

"Well, you just go through with it this time, hon. I never heard of anybody putting off their retirement twice like you."

"When the time's right for Hannah, I'll go."

Rayette just shook her head. "She'd get over it, honey. God makes His creatures strong. I swear, the things you've done for her all these years."

"Yeah. Well, I got to go," Sam said. He would brook no negative comments about Hannah, never had. "I'll see you." "I guess you will," Rayette said. "You watch yourself around that coffee, now."

Sam steered his old Dodge Dart back into morning traffic, making sure the coffee and the bag of donuts were secure. He was a careful man and it paid off. At sixty-eight, even by his own lights, he looked damned good. He stood upright and proud, no gut whatsoever, not even a little one people would have forgiven him for, at his age. A little snowfall on the top of his head, just a light dusting; no gray at the temples, either. Seeing him from the back, you might think he was twenty, but when he turned around his face gave him away. It was deeply lined, like a roadmap starting someplace far away—Cincinnati, maybe, where he was born, or Yakima, Washington, where his daddy had had a truck farm; then Korea, where Sam had served in the war; and ending right here in Bladenham, Washington.

He drove the last mile to the Max L. Biedelman Zoo fighting a powerful urge to take a bite of one of the donuts. He wasn't a drinking man or a smoker, never had been, but he did miss his Dunkin' Donuts.



Continues...


Excerpted from Hannah's Dream by Diane Hammond Copyright © 2008 by Diane Hammond. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are saying about this

Susan McCarthy
“A pleasure to read. HANNAH’S DREAM is gently unpredictable. It’s full of suspensebut not unbearable suspense. There’s a missing document, a devoted pig, and a villain with a pith helmet and a riding crop. Most of all, there’s an elephant and the people who really love her.”

Meet the Author

Diane Hammond is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Seeing Stars, Hannah's Dream, Going to Bend, and Homesick Creek. She served as a spokesperson for the Free Willy Keiko Foundation and the Oregon Coast Aquarium and currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with her husband and their three Pembroke Welsh corgis.

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Hannahs Dream 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 71 reviews.
iliketoreadCA More than 1 year ago
I loved everything about this book. It's the story of a very smart and special elephant, Hannah, and her devoted keeper. The book focuses on his recurring dream for her and how to make it happen. Nearly all the characters are "good guys" but of course there is one less-than-likeable character thrown in for good measure. The writing was great; the conversations between the characters felt real. I liked each character and thought they were developed really well...including Hannah. The story line was great and moved along nicely. The author's writing style is great; good descriptions, good flow, plausible conversations. There is just the right amount of narration. I hate when you read pages and pages of narration with no conversations. This book has the right amount of both. I supposed the ending is predictable, but that's okay. Getting there was a lovely treat. I would recommend this book to just about any type of reader whether they were an animal-lover or not.
nanajean More than 1 year ago
This was the most touching book I have read in a long time. I liked everything about it...the story-line, the characters, the author's writing style......bravo Diane Hammond.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thoroughly delightful. Highly recommend this splendid book.
Almost-Tica More than 1 year ago
Hannah's Dream is one of my all-time favorite books. I didn't want it to end, because I became so involved with the characters, especially with the brave and touching Hannah. Diane Hammond touches the hearts of readers without dissolving into sappy sentimentalism. The characters are real and multidimensional and the plot is exciting enough to keep readers interested in finding out what comes next. Last, but certainly not least, when I finished reading the last page, I had a satisfied and happy feeling at having been a part of this entire reading experience. The novel is well-structured, the plot is interesting and moving, and the characters insinuate themselves into the life of the reader. I loved this book!
psoupCA More than 1 year ago
Hannah's Dream by Diane Hammond touched my heart. I first read it in a condesned Reader's Digest form and was so taken that I immediately ordered the Book and began reading it the very day it arrived. It is not a book for everyone I have discovered. In recommending it to friends, 4 of 6 shared my joy. The characters are so real, and the story so moving, I had trouble accepting that it was a novel. For me, a usually escapist reader, it was one of those that as the end arrived, I found myself reading slower so it would not end. Just a beautiful, moving story with beautiful characters. On a scale of 1 to 10, for me it was about a 15.
Guest More than 1 year ago
On the surface 'Hannah's Dream' is the story of a motley crew of characters who come together to save an elephant living in a run-down zoo. On a deeper level it's about how we find and choose the people who will become a part of our life's story. I can't say strongly enough how much I loved this book! For me, it was all about the characters. I simply fell in love with each of them and became immersed in their story. From Johnson Johnson the eccentric artist to Truman the precise and careful accountant, Neva the expert elephant handler and Sam the intuitive one, even Miles the pig was irresistible! I was not ready to let any of them go by the end. This is a funny, generous, warm book that will leave you feeling good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Isn't it the dream of everyone to live a happy and content life, probably for most people it is so why should it be any different for an animal? Hannah's Dream touched my soul I loved every aspect of the book! I had picked the book up on a lark and I am so glad I did not only because of the story but the author also uses my hometown in the story. I will be reading other books by this author and reccomending the book to everyone I know.
MrsO More than 1 year ago
Just the picture on the cover captured my attention and I loved the story from the first page. The wonderful characters with their endearing qualities, and they all seemed so real to me. Especially Hannah. I have since read one more of Miss Hammond's books and it too was so enjoyable. Her style of writing is like watching an old, tender movie.
karen978 More than 1 year ago
Worth reading, for sure. I enjoyed this book about the relationship between an elephant in a small zoo and her keeper of 41 years. There were a few weird things in the book. like a pig for a pet, a strange zoo manager.....a landlord who loves cats and paints toilet bowls......but the main story is the relationship between Hannah and Sam. I bawled my eyes out at the end. It's touching.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hannah's Dream by Diane Hammond was the selection for this month's neighborhood book club. In relation to the previous books we have read we rated Hannah's Dream 8 out of 10. The book appealed to our variety of personalities. Our discussion was lively as we explored different aspects of the book and its interesting characters. Many of the group would choose to meet Max Biedelman, Hannah's sponsor. While the remaining members would love to chat with Sam, the gentleman who cared for Hannah in ways beyond expectation. We were puzzled by the choice of the book cover. We concluded it is a picture of Max as a young child where her love for elephants began. Did we get that right? Our book club recommends it to other book clubs. It is a refreshing story with a satisfying ending. Many found the book hard to put down as they got caught up in the unfolding of the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Probably more so because of the end outcome. Thinking in the best interests of Hannah was of key importance to the story. I relished the strong connection and bond between human and animal. Loved the characters, especially the quirky ones, like Johnson and Miles the pig. There were definitely certain gender identity issues present. I would have liked a bit more information on how things progressed when the book ended. Also, Johnson Johnson sort of disappeared from the story at a certain point? Ultimately, a heart felt read that I definitely recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hannah the elephant is the center of a story about the people involved in her life. Well written and engaging story. I would definitely explore other works by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a heartwarming story with very likable characters that draw you into there world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book as it was a sweet story but also an informative one about elephants. It is an easy read which I needed at the time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a beautifully written book, I haven't read a book this touching in a long time. Highly recommend. Thank you Diane for writing a wonderful story.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wait"a chain comes out of my arm and wraps around youres. Kisses you"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tuck, you totally deserve better than this girl... she giggles too much, and she can't even spell breasts right! If you do me, and leave her, you can do whatever you want to me. &hearts
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Iy shove my cock near your moith
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was so impressed by this book. It is just one of those books that you never want to end. It pulls at the heart. The stories are so interwoven and come together beautifully.
firesidereader2 More than 1 year ago
This is not my typical read, at all, but I got it on a hunch…plus, it was really inexpensive, so figured I wouldn't lose much. It's turned out to be a story that will stay with me a long time. The writing, the characters, are much "homier" than in things I usually read, but they are real, and they have winnowed into my heart. The people are real, their backstories, feelings, pains and joys are real and heart-touching. Hannah, the elephant, becomes one of the characters replete with feelings, joys, pains and personal attachments. The imagery and analogy is often so fresh, I find myself in admiration of he author's gift; I'm an ex-English teacher, so appreciate a well-done metaphor as well as non-stock characterization. I'm almost done, racing to the end now, and will be sorry to put it down. I do think it will remain in my heart and head.