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Roam: A Novel with Music

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  715 ratings  ·  165 reviews
A wise and heartwarming first novel about families, love lost and found, and a scrappy three-legged dog who is trying to find his way back home as Christmas approaches. Roam features a seven-part soundtrack—composed and performed by the author—accessible online and embedded in the eBook.

They say you never forget your first love . . .

Born under a sparkling crescent moon, N
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Atria Books (first published 2007)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  715 ratings  ·  165 reviews

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Nov 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
I am an unashamed dog lover, so this story seemed tailor made for me. And to a large extent it was. Nelson is a half beagle,half poodle. Told largely from his point of view, we follow him on his journey through life. We are also treated to the stories of the people and animals that populate his life.
Nelson's story of course pulled on the heart strings as he embarks on what started to be a short adventure but turns into a life lived largely as a stray.He is a plucky soul and while his circumsta
Jayme(the ghost reader)
Jun 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-books
This was a total impulse buy for me. I read the summary and I thought, aww it is a journey about a dog and the hardships he endures. When I started reading this book, I had no idea the emotional rollercoaster I would be on. From the moment I met Nelson until the end of the book, my heart strings were attached to Nelson.

I loved how "Nelson" described emtions in scents. I never thought of it that way. I cheered when he found a home with Katey and she was his "Great Love". Then he escaped and the e
Jun 08, 2020 rated it liked it
It’s a dog that gets lost and has many many people that save him and others he saves. As I read, I fondly recalled the many dogs that have entered our lives off the street or from a shelter. We would often look into their soulful eyes and make up entire narratives of a back story. We do this now with our rescue dogs. Their lives are rich with experiences that they carry with them always. This book reminds me of the special live dogs give us.
May 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
I love dogs and love books, so it follows that I must love books about dogs. Well, not really….at least not all the time. I really wanted to like Roam more. It has such a cute cover – reminds me of a mutt we rescued and named Tramp. And I knew it would deliver up a tear-jerker happy ending. I just found the whole story of Nelson’s life a little too hard to believe. Nelson, a half beagle/half poodle mix had the perfect life after being bought as a puppy by Katey – his Great Love. But Katey’s husb ...more
Kate Jackson
Nov 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Okay all you dog-lovers, this one is for you. And bring your tissues with you. Told from the point of view of the dog, this is the story of Nelson, a beagle-poodle mix and his life from puppy-hood through a series of adventures that, well, let's just say that's what the tissues are for. That being said, the writing is never maudlin or melodramatic; the author is telling like it is, dog-wise, in a matter-of-fact style that lets the action unfold smoothly and allows the reader to bring the emotion ...more
Nov 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Some of the other reviews of this book make me shake my head in I guess I'll start with what I thought was the obvious: it's FICTION. The author wrote a book and chose to narrate it through the eyes of a dog. Obviously he has taken some liberties there...I think it's safe to say that nobody knows what a dog thinks see or smells at every moment of the day.

So, it's fiction. And it's cute. It's got some farfetched story lines, but it's still cute. The dog, Nelson, is incredibly loveabl
Karen & Gerard
Nov 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Talk about not being able to put a book down; I finished this book in one day (and I work full time). Yes, to me it's that good! ROAM by Alan Lazar is about a dog named Nelson who has a very nice home with a loving owner named Katey (his first owner). One day the gate is left open and Nelson just wants to go exploring. What a great book this is! Nelson goes and finds different places and meets new people. It's a great tale! If you enjoyed the "Art of Racing" I think you will love this book. I cr ...more
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
While I liked the travel plot and the main character of the little scrappy Nelson, I thought the writing style was just god-awful clumsy and obvious. This author has some good ideas,but boy does he need an editor and really more experience as a writer. His style is monotonous because all the sentences are about the same length and contain the same pattern.
(Perhaps this was a stylistic choice to convey the dog's thought pattern?)

What possible difference would the music make?

Perhaps this writer w
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
sweet story, predictable ending, but truthfully it's the way I wanted it to end. ...more
Nov 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Wellll... i just lost my shepherd/lab of 13 years in I was scared to start this book,and although there were things that reminded me of her,I was mostly comparing things in this book to my OTHER dog... my Norwegian baby of 10years.The Lab(although I was the one who rescued it as a pup on the street),was an amazing dog,but completely my hubby's baby.first time in 13 years I seen my husband cry was when we lost her...she KNEW how to melt "dad's"heart.The elkhound was AL ...more
Jul 21, 2013 rated it did not like it
The concept of mixing music with a novel to enhance the reading experience was interesting. Sigh. That's about the only positive thing I can say. I was so disappointed in the writing style and inaccuracies that I kept hoping for more music! It appears the writer did research some aspects of dogs - interesting focus on the smells the dog encounters - but fell short in other areas, such as the great love affair between Nelson and Lucy that was just not possible, and the wolves taking in a dog as a ...more
Lynn Demsky
Jan 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I fell in love with Roam! This is one book I'm keeping (I decided 15 years ago when we moved that once I read a book I'd give it away) I still have a house full and a kindle full of books but they have NOT been read yet ---- this is one I'm keeping forever. Would recommend that anyone thinking about buying a pet, read this first! Just terrific! Also the first book I've read that had music attached to it! ...more
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I might be a little biased because we just lost our dog of 13 years, however I loved this book. It brought me to tears. I agree with the reviews that say the writing is simple, however that is always how I thought dogs thought so it wasn't a problem. It was just a simple story full of emotion and love and I felt it was lovely. ...more
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Was a tear-jerker until the last page. As a student away at a school over 3000 miles away from home, this book only made me miss my Lhasa Poo even more than before reading it. Maybe that's why I loved this book so much. It really hit home for me. ...more
Stephanie A.
Jan 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Dog book, a proper dog book for adults! So rare, so intoxicating! Nelson remains the central character throughout and he thinks like a dog rather than a human in a dog's body (looking at you, The Art of Racing In The Rain), much like the dog books that all proper children grew up loving and some of us never stopped reading, partly because there just aren't enough being written at an adult reading level.

It stops short of being a perfect dog book due to the excessive mentions of both dog and huma
Oct 19, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dogs, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars...
Emily Flury
Nov 13, 2011 rated it liked it
As I have enjoyed many books about dogs in the past such as The Art of Racing in the Rain, One Good Dog, and A Dog's Purpose, I picked up this novel because I was ready for an easy listening experience after two marathon listens that I had just finished. At first, I was disappointed to find that this novel had the same narrator as another book that I did not enjoy, Merle's Door. I had blamed the failure of the book in part to the narrator who seemed to be much like a know-it-all or something th ...more
Nov 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I love dogs and parts of the book made me sad. As a dog rescuer, I know that dogs get lost and do amazing things to find their families. The story was good, although not totally believable, but it is fiction so it was expected.

Nelson is a poodle-beagle cross who is purchased by Katey and Don. Katey is a concert pianist who trusts her husband. Her husband cheats on her and also one day accidently lets Nelson's gate unlocked and he escapes to the outside world. He lives at a landfill, finds a tr
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I should have known better than to read a book with a dog on the cover while at work. Even one of my co-workers saw the book and asked if she should get me some tissues. A box and a half of tissues later, I finished the book on a quiet afternoon while the boss was out.

This is such a sweet love story in smells about a little mutt and the one true love of his life, and how no matter how long the two had been apart their love never ended. What I had a hard time with was separating Nelson from my d
Nov 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this story of a poodle/beagle mix who begins his life with a happy young couple, gets lost, and who wanders across America. He has a strong curiosity, matched only by his keen sense of smell. He spends years trying to find the young woman he loved and who loved him. He rides with a trucker, winds up in animal shelters twice and is almost put down. He survives with wolves. He meets humans who are good and not so good. He finally arrives in southern California and to the home of a young ...more
Nov 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The book is from the POV of Nelson and while it is fiction, it is nice (for me) to believe that my dogs feel for me what Nelson feels for his Great Love. My biggest fear has always been the loss of a dog so mine have tags and micro chips - all that jazz. The adventures of Nelson, while harrowing, show what perseverance a strong spirit can bring.

Another very interesting aspect of this book is that is has MS Tags throughout. The first time author is a composer and has written music specifically f
Jan 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Alan Lazar is a truly talented writer because it is incredibly difficult to write a story for adults from the point of view of an animal but he pulls it off with perfection. This is a truly heartwarming story that is filled with sadness and joy, triumph and failure. This story makes you feel for Nelson as he searches for his Great Love and you can't help but be happy when something good happens to him or cry when something terrible happens to him. Alan Lazar is really talented because it is incr ...more
Jul 24, 2015 rated it liked it
I was a bit skeptical about reading this book. Any book containing animals, I have a hard time dealing with because I don't do well with the possibility of something happening to any pets in a story. So I decided to start this story, and a cute story it is. Nelson, the little pup being sold in a pet store, is the narrator of this story. He gets selected by a very nice musician and goes home to live with her and her husband. Little Nelson manages to accidently get lost from his home when Don, his ...more
Jan 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a truly heartwarming story that is filled with sadness and joy, triumph and failure. I really enjoyed the story of Nelson. It makes you feel for him and you can't help but be happy when something good happens to him or cry when something terrible happens to him. Alan Lazar is really talented because it is incredibly difficult to write a story for adults from the point of view of an animal but he pulls it off with perfection. I don't want to give anything away but will simply say that Nel ...more
Karin Bartimole
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Okay, the hero of this book is another dog, Nelson, the accidental mixed breed - half beagle, half poodle. All that he over comes and inspires in his challenging life is truly heroic! I just loved this story, which made me both cry and laugh out loud. I enjoyed following his scent guided decision making, his love of all things (human) food, and his joy of grass! His devotion and love for his first true owner is embedded in his memory banks and drives him forward on his cross country journey. He ...more
Nov 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
At first, it felt like I was reading an extended version of some sort of children's book. The writing is nothing great, and that's coming from someone who isn't a harsh critic of writing styles. That being said, I'm also an animal lover who absolutely loved the emotions this book stirred up in me. I give it 4 stars because I'm way too sensitive and a believer when it comes to animals and their resiliency! ...more
Dec 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing book! The detail that he put into the thoughts and feelings of Nelson was very impressive! I was surprised that this was only the first book by Alan Lazar. I hope he writes more books to come.
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
I LOVED this book! I couldn't put the book down. I would recommend this book to animal lovers for sure. I liked how the book was written in Nelson's point of view(the dog), and made me wonder sometimes what dog's really do think. ...more
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this in one day. I just couldn't stop reading it. There are parts that are heartbreaking but there are also parts with warm fuzzies. Also I wanted to punch everyone in the book that wasn't nice to Nelson the dog. ...more
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Alan Lazar is a platinum-selling musician/composer whose career began in his native South Africa. He lives in Los Angeles, where he has composed music for more than 30 films and TV shows. This is his first novel.

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