Title: Retrieving Isaac & Jason
Translated by: Elliot & Kenneth Flies
Publisher: Hiawatha Press
No country outside of the United States will allow a same-sex duo to adopt a child. Only five countries that do allow single men to adopt are Russia, the Ukraine, Guatemala, Vietnam and Cambodia. In Retrieving Isaac & Jason by Elliot and Kenneth Flies, the story is supposedly told from a dog’s viewpoint of this topic.
This one hundred and seventy nine page paperback book has a photograph of a two foreign-born young boys hugging a yellow Labrador dog on the front jacket. The back jacket has a picture of Kai, the female dog, and a description about the true story that dates back to 1999. The main paragraph simply states that Kai has two dads which may lead some readers to think it means both the dog’s canine and human “dads.” Readers may feel duped reading this and not realizing that the actual story is about two gay men in Minnesota who adopt two young boys from foreign countries. There are references to masturbation, the gay lifestyle, and words such as crap and poop that may not be appropriate for young readers. There are several punctuation errors.
With young Kai being the only female in the family who no one understands fully, this dog writes from firsthand experience about her two “dads,” the writer and the leader in their day to day lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. However, since Kai is fluent on the computer and reading, about forty percent of the book is human emails, letters and writings in italics by the writer, grandparents, adoption agency workers, friends and even Ho Chi Minh.
Kai reports in the first chapter that her church-going, lovingly gay couple is contemplating completing their family unit by adopting a baby from Cambodia. Not only are the airplane flights, hotels, meals and historical and sight-seeing venues explained in detail, but also are the antics, dog puns, trips to the grandparents and other events that the canine experiences while waiting for the young child to arrive. Then much of it is repeated again when they adopt the second child, this one from Vietnam.
Besides being somewhat repetitive and tedious in the story telling itself, at the end of the book the author uses the format as a soap box to state his beliefs on Buddhism being similar to Christianity, the rights of gay marriage, and even the dog’s philosophy on homosexuality. As Kai sums it all up on page 134, “Boy that writer can drone on and on.”