Katherine Sheehan Letter Essay #4 Max: Best Friend. Hero. Marine.

January/ 4 /2018
 Recently I finished Max: Best Friend. Hero. Marine, a 248 page novel by Jennifer Li Shotz. A Los Angeles native, she graduated from Vassar and has an MFA in nonfiction from Columbia. She lives with her family in Brooklyn.

She has written many novels including Max: Best Friend. Hero. Marine that has now become a major motion picture and was shown in many movie theatres.  This book had become a #1 New York Times bestseller. I chose to reread this book because I am very interested in the topic it is written on. And I remember reading it in 6th grade and not understanding it and I really wanted to be able to fully experience what the book had offer especially since the author is coming out with some new books that I would love to read. I just want to make sure I like her novels before I go out and by some of her new ones. Also, I really like books that portray strong emotions cause you can kind of immerse yourself in the narrator world and get a deeper understanding of the book you are reading.

 The story, Max, is about a Marine dog whose owner, Kyle Wincott, is killed in Afghanistan. Kyle’s younger brother, Justin Wincott, is claimed the new owner of Max. Justin finds trust within Max after the dog was thought to had been crazed and on the verge of being put down. After being reluctant to obey with the absence of his previous owner Kyle he had suffered terrible issues after Kyle died in the war. People had no clue what to do with him or if he would ever be the same again.Justin does not believe the story he was told by Tyler, his brother’s best friend in Marines, So she goes to figure it out on his own because he needed to know what happened to his brother for real not a fake story. While trying to put pieces to the mystery together, Justin finds himself in a tough situation. Together as a family, with the astounding help from Max, the Wincott’s are able to dodge danger and find themselves to grow closer to each other after multiple people’s’ lives are saved by Max.

I was surprised during this novel on how much changed throughout the story. Justin started the story off a broken down individual from his brother’s death, he was just an ordinary kid but. He was very self-reserved. By the end of the story, he was thriving and stronger than ever and even his family’s vibe had totally changed. Their tragedy brought them closer together when they needed it the most. Even max changed because in the beginning he was heartbroken and very disobedient and hurt. But after Justin spent his time training him, he became a wonderful hero.

I Also like the way that the author added: “Words of the Wiser” from Justin’s father and mother. It showed throughout the book how the family was able to work together. Justin’s dad was a really hard man but on the inside, he was very caring. Justin always thought he needed to prove himself to his father just like Kyle did joining the war. That what kind of push them away but as the book goes on Justin’s father has a lot of great things to say and help him through a lot of hard times.

Finally, my Favorite passage from the whole entire book was near the end. It reads:

“‘Hey, Dad,’ Justin said. ‘Where’s Max’s cage?’ His dad shrugged and said, ‘At the junkyard, on top of the pile. Where it belongs. He’ll be staying in the house with us from now on. Where he belongs.’

Justin and his dad held each other’s gaze, both of them unsure where to go from here. They’d been through a lot together this summer, and now they were in new territory.”

What I love about this passage is how in the beginning Justin and his family did not accept Max as their own. But as soon as they started to accept Max into the family the family bonds grew stronger.Now that their family is together as one they can move on from Kyle’s death. They also will have Max’s a constant reminder and piece of Kyle with them. This passage represents everyone’s change in the book and how their family has changed. I rate this book 9 out of 10 thought it was an easy read it was really heartwarming and a great novel. I would definitely recommend this to my peers or reread it again.




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5 thoughts on “Katherine Sheehan Letter Essay #4 Max: Best Friend. Hero. Marine.

  1. Katie,
    This is a good letter-essay and blog post (thanks for the link to the movie trailer); this book (and movie) definitely seems like a positive, uplifting story. You were just one paragraph in the Reflection away from writing a thorough essay; be sure to use that checklist.
    Mr. Jockers

  2. Dear Katie,

    This book sounds really interesting and I’m glad you were able to reread it and understand it. My favorite part of your essay is when you describe how much Justin changes. I think that added more to the book other than it being just about a marine dog. I was impressed to see that you analyzed one of the signposts from the reading unit. I think it made your essay even better.

    Good work!

  3. Hi Katie,
    i really liked you letter essay. I like how you reread the book to get a better understanding of it. I also liked how you described the characters at the beginning and end of the book. Great job!


  4. Katie-

    Your letter essay is very well written and I can really tell that this story is heartfelt. I really liked how you didn’t write extremely long paragraphs that explained so much of the story so that the reader basically knows the ending already before reading the book. You kept your paragraphs short and still managed to get every detail needed for the paragraph. Thanks for sharing your letter essay with me!

    Renee K

  5. Dear Katie,

    I really like your letter essay it had lot of description and we could tell that you really enjoyed reading this book. I really liked how you added a movie trailer so we could know what some of the book is about. Thank you for sharing your amazing letter essay with us you did a great job.


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