How would you feel if your father called you once every two months to talk to you? Then he lost your dog that was living in his trailer and one day you heard another little boy calling his name in his trailer? Well, this is what Leigh Botts; the main character in the book, Dear Mr. Henshaw, by Beverly Cleary had to go through. Dear Mr. Henshaw is a nonfiction book written in present-day tense. Throughout the entire book, Leigh is either in his room or at school, because his mom was overprotective and did not let him go anywhere else.
The protagonist of this story is Leigh Botts, a small-time kid with high hopes. Leigh loves reading and hopes to be a writer one day. Leigh is an honest boy, who is at times very emotional. Leigh and his father have a very distant relationship, and his mother is always very busy and barely has time for him. All Leigh really had was his favorite author, Boyd Henshaw, whose work he had been reading since second grade. Other than going to school and doing work the only other thing Leigh did was write letters to Mr. Henshaw or entries in his personal diary.
Leigh’s family is not like the ideal family with the mother at home and the father at work. Leigh’s mom, Bonnie Botts, works very early in the morning at her catering job and takes college classes to become a nurse in the evening, so she is rarely home long enough to spend quality time with her son. Leigh makes it known that his mother is “a great cook but (I) wish she would be home more often to cook for (me). Bonnie isn’t a super strict mother but expects responsibility from her son. Although Bonnie is a single mother and gets no support from Leigh’s father, Bill Botts, she does not burden Leigh with her hard feelings about his dad. Bonnie describes Bill Bott’s, Leigh’s dad, as a big kid in this story, but at the same time, not a bad guy. Leigh’s dad pays child support, payments, calls Leigh sometimes, and sends postcards but the only thing missing is constant love. Finally, Mr. Henshaw is Leigh Bott’s favorite author who which he always sends letters to.
After Leigh Bott’s heart is broken after he hears that his father found another family he never looks at his parents in the same way. He thinks that his family doesn’t love him much and that they are never going to realize what is happening in his life. Another problem Leigh was facing was that, since he was the new kid at school, somebody was stealing the “good food” from his lunch bag and he couldn’t find out who it was. Leigh was upset and thought that whoever was stealing his lunch was way too sneaky. Leigh was a growing boy in need of help and guidance from his parents, yet that was close to impossible because neither of them paid him much attention. His mother did not purposely do this, she made him his lunch and saw him when she could, but there was not much time she could offer working so early and going to school so late.
Leigh tried to fix the “lunch bag problem,” by making an alarm to put on it. Leigh’s dad sent him $20.00 as a sorry to him. Leigh accepted the money and bought a black lunch bag, some tools, and an alarm. The alarm was very loud so that when the thief attempted to steal his lunch it would go off and that person would be in trouble by the teacher.
Leigh never got the chance to find the thief that stole his lunch but once he brought the lunch bag with the alarm on it to school nobody ever stole his lunch again, most likely out of fear. As far as the other problems in Leigh’s life, his dad came over to his house one day when he was in the vicinity and told his mom that he wanted to be with her again and make things work for their family but most importantly for Leigh. Sadly, Bonnie said no to the deal and his dad left once again, this time for good.
This book comes to an end with Leigh sitting on his bed hearing the gas station noises and thinking to himself what was the real reason behind his dad coming to see him and his mother. Leigh really missed his father and did not want him to go but then again he knew it was for one reason only, and although he may not know the reason at the moment, it had to be for him and his mothers good. Leigh then changes his frown and turns it upside down and moves on with his life.
This book is one of my favorite books of all time. It made me appreciate more of what I have in my personal life. Leigh did not have much other than his mom and an old broken-down house. I have a big loving family, a great dad, and a beautiful home. This book made me say, “I love you” to my mother and father and help out around the house a bit more. Reading a book about a young boy who felt lost in the world because he did not have two parents guiding him makes me appreciate my parents for loving me the way they do. This book was great and I do not regret reading it. This story has a larger illustration and that is to be grateful of what you have and to love until you cant anymore because there are so many people in this world that are not as grateful as you are. I feel that this is the larger idea of the book because Leigh repeatedly talks about him and his dad’s relationships and similar issues. The author’s style of writing was very interesting, and soothing that every time I picked up this book I felt like Leigh Botts. She puts her readers in a position where they are so comfortable reading this book that they don’t want to put it down. I would definitely recommend this book to my friends and younger family members because this book will simply change your life for better.