Catherine Ryan Hyde is a master storyteller- SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW is proof that her stories get better and better, all 30 of them. She has over 50 short stories in major publications and awards upon awards for her artful writing. I have had the good fortune of reading and reviewing three of her most recent novels within the past year. Most people would recognize Catherine Ryan Hyde by her magnificently successful story PAY IT FORWARD, which was made into a very successful movie staring Helen Hunt and Kevin Spacey. Her writing is often cast as Young Adult, but I cannot think of a single adult I know who would not enjoy these coming of age stories and the look at adults though youthful experience and questions.
Most of Hyde’s stories seem to include horses, dogs and adventures that problem-solve and add meaning. The adults in her stories make a number of discoveries that are life changing for them also. The main characters often have high levels of responsibility and are cast in a lonely position, which clarifies their situation and allows the characters to get what they need to recover or grow.
Pete does not know that his father is psychologically and physically abusive because it seems to him that all the fathers that are in his community are so inclined. His father is just going way beyond in his abuse and making Pete’s life impossible for success or sitting down after the whippings. Pete is trying so hard to do the right thing and find favor and love from his only remaining parent. He feels responsible for helping a dog that has been hit by a car which costs him a friend and delivers him a new friend and several adults that he can trust.
The story begins in 1959 when Pete is 12-years-old and beginning summer vacation from school. His father has been injured on the job and is home on Workman’s Compensation and maybe abusing the pain medications and certainly alcohol.
Dr. Lucy is a physician who lost her son to pneumonia during a painful divorce. Dr. Lucy now rescues racehorses, which are not fast enough and dogs that no one wants any more. She lives alone in the countryside in a house given to her by her father. She has closed herself off from the community as this Texas community has made being a practicing female doctor an impossibility in 1959. The community is extremely closed minded. Here is where the story adds being against “Negros” and the hostile environment that is created. The Doctor and Justin, Pete’s new friend, have very different value programing than what Pete has experienced in his life, and yet there is an attraction and the resonation of the new values within Pete.
SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW has many levels of discovery and very well written dialogue. The adults must explain many things from the meaning of words to telling the truth in a protective manner.
I would read this book again. It made me think about current hatred and racism being expressed in our culture at this time. I made me think about how one brings about new thinking and acceptance of others; it maybe only through one person at a time.
SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW is an excellent read, and I have purchased a copy for the son of my new neighbor.