Catherine Ryan Hyde, where have you been hiding? This story has such a lyrical, melancholy feel to it. The writing is so descriptive, every moment I felt I was there with Dr. Lucy as she took care of the gunshot wound of a thief, I was there as Pete's father berated him, and when Pete finds Justin after he gets beaten within an inch of his life, and for the tender, budding relationship between Calvin and Lucy. The writing had the feel of Kent Haruf, who has written so many great stories taking place in the west.
As a reader and dog lover, the cover seeks to be read. The eyes of the dog, that we come to know as Prince in the story, half dog, half wolf, you want to know the story behind those eyes.
The story starts in 1959, in a small Texas town. It's not often that adult fiction has a main character who is twelve years old, but Ms. Hyde has captured the voice of Pete, who is a respectful kid, but whose father doesn't appreciate him and is even cruel to Pete. Dr. Lucy is a loner and the only female doctor in town, but she prefers to take care of sick and injured animals, especially after the town's people don't take a female doctor seriously. Her farm is filled with horses, dogs, a pig, and even an owl. Pete meets Dr. Lucy when he finds the wolf/dog injured on the side of the road. Pete and Justin become unlikely friends in this unforgiving town, while Justin's father Calvin and Dr. Lucy, share a bond of loneliness, which like a flower in the dry Texas field blossoms after a summer shower.
The story takes place in a simpler time, but the relationships between the characters are more difficult in some ways. Male and female, black and white, human and animal, adult and child. While there is a feeling of melancholy, the story is a beautifully moving one and is in no way sad. You will find yourself rooting for Lucy, Pete, Calvin and Justin Bell. Say Goodbye for now is a powerful story that will tug at your heartstrings.
About the author:
Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of thirty published and forthcoming books. Her bestselling 1999 novel Pay It Forward, adapted into a major Warner Bros. motion picture starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, made the American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults list and was translated into more than two dozen languages for distribution in more than thirty countries. Her novels Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List; Jumpstart the World was also a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards and won Rainbow Awards in two categories. More than fifty of her short stories have been published in many journals, including the Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and the Sun, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot. Her short fiction received honorable mention in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest, a second-place win for the Tobias Wolff Award, and nominations for Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have also been cited in Best American Short Stories. Ryan Hyde is also founder and former president of the Pay It Forward Foundation. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.
Take a moment to check out her web-page.
Catherine has such a diverse set of interests, travel, hiking, photography, her animals, I could spend all day exploring her site!
Thank you to the author and TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to experience the first of what I am sure will be many of Ms. Ryan Hyde's stories. One lucky follower of Baer Books blog will win a copy of the book.
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I hope you all get to spend this beautiful holiday season with family, friends, and your favorite animals. Mr. Birdie says hello!