I cannot promise he will stay, since all from earth return,
but lessons only a dog can teach,
I want you each to learn.
A Loan from God, Author unknown
A successful Hong Kong career woman moves with her family to Australia to start a new life, but struggles to adjust, matters are complicated further when she agrees to her daughter’s wish to adopt a stray dog.
THE BOOK OF MAX tells the story of the oldest friendship in history, the friendship between human and dog.
A respected teacher of Criminology & Sociology in Hong Kong, Ying Ying is struggling to find a purpose to her new life in Australia as a housewife. The last thing she wants is a dog, which happens to be the very thing her 10 year old daughter wants, more than anything.
In fact, Ying Ying harbours a lifelong fear and distrust of dogs. But, for her daughter's sake she reluctantly agrees to visit a local animal shelter. It is here that they meet Max, a dog one day away from being put to sleep, and adopt him.
It soon becomes apparent that Max was born with an uncanny ability to connect with humans, even making a breakthrough with a reclusive gardener named Walt, a man haunted by the memory of a faithful dog he was forced to abandon while serving in the army over 30 year earlier. But for Ying Ying, Max is still just a dog.
Things change though, when her daughter starts school and her husband departs for a long business trip abroad, leaving Ying Ying alone with Max.
Spending time with Max on her own, has an unexpected effect on Ying Ying, for in Max she finds an old soul, a teacher as well as a faithful friend. Max becomes the one constant in her life and as the bond grows between the two, her eyes are opened to a new way of seeing the world. The local park, frequented by the city’s dog lovers, becomes a place of magic and discovery and it is here that she finally finds a sense of belonging.
But, THE BOOK OF MAX is so much more than the story of one woman and her dog, for this life changing journey that Ying Ying embarks upon with Max, will also lead her to discover the story of a remarkable shared history between two species, and how an unlikely partnership formed between them, a partnership that changed both forever.
Indeed, Ying Ying’s own life has now changed forever too and as she comes to embrace the changes Max brings, Ying Ying also finds herself reconnecting to her own past and the memory of her father, a distant and remote figure to his family, yet a man capable of showing tenderness to a stray dog.
Returning to China to lay her father's ghost to rest, Ying Ying finds that she is now shocked by some of the local customs regarding the treatment of animals, and sets out to educate people on the lessons taught to her by Max. She is even more surprised by the response she receives from the youth, as they rally to her call for change.
THE BOOK OF MAX is based on the memoir STARTING WITH MAX, by Ying Ying and is a visceral journey into the world of the dog, a vivid exploration of the transformative power of the human/canine bond and a celebration of an ancient and very special friendship between species.