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SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW: Another Wonderful Novel ~Catherine Ryan Hyde

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

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.

A TLC Book Tours review book.

Related:
Leaving Blythe River
The Language of Hoofbeats

THE REINVENTION OF ALBERT PAUGH: A Novel Story about retirement ~Jean Davies Okimoto

Monday, August 17th, 2015

I can hardly wait to tell you about this delightful story, the third in Okimoto’s trilogy about Vashon Island and its special landmarks and the culture of living on an island close to a huge and popular city.   The book came into my computer as a digital file and I needed to make a list of 10 things I was going to accomplish before I read the first page because I knew I would just be hooked right away and unable to do anything else.   The author is a great story telling wizard with just the most remarkable humor, she must have a twinkle in her eye at all times.  She certainly has caught island life and the foibles and emotions of the folks who inhabit and live within it’s confines.

TLC Book Tours has now sent me each of the books Okimoto has written for review.  I am just so lucky.  THE LOVE CEILING   was the start and then we moved onto WALTER’S MUSE.    The wise philosopher has turned 90 and is included into this new story, along with Maggie and Walter and Howie and Mark but the cast has expanded to include more of the folks who are a part of Albert Paugh’s life and veterinary practice.

The characters are so believable and may just remind you of someone you know and enjoy.  I felt a need to call one of my neighbors and also to entice my husband into reading this story as he is looking forward to retirement with no major plans except to paint and walk our dog.  He may just find himself confused also.

Dr. Paugh has had a heart attack and his wife persuaded him to sell his practice and retire.  It was just in time, as she needed help to heal from a lung cancer, which changed her life and what she wanted for her future.  Albert was not included in that future and after 24 years he is about to become divorced.  His wife never did like Bert, his chocolate lab, and now the two must find a new place to live and what to do with their time.

The single women, of a certain age and dog owners are quite interested in Dr. Paugh’s new status and this is becoming a problem that sends Al and Bert to the beach for long walks.

I was able to persuade my large book group to read WALTER’s MUSE  and I think I will have luck again with THE REINVENTION OF ALBERT PAUGH.  What will we all do at retirement? And how will we feel useful and of service to others and what will capture our energies in a good way and in a concerning way?
It was delightful to see how Dr. Paugh and the folks on Vashon Island were taking hold and making a difference to so many.

From the Book:

“Jean Davis Okimoto is an author and playwright whose books and short stories have been translated into Japanese, Italian, Chinese, German, Korean, Danish and Hebrew.  She is the recipient of numerous awards including Smithsonian Notable Book, The American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults, the Washington Governor’s Award, the Green Earth Book Award, and the International Reading Association Readers Choice Award.  Her picture book, Blumpoe the Grumpoe Meets Arnold the Cat was adapted by Shelly Duvall for the HBO and Showtime television series BEDTIME STORIES.  Jeanie, who is also a retired psychotherapist, began writing for adults when she and her husband Joe retired to Vashon Island in 2004 where they (and their dogs Bert and Willie) are visited by deer families and their six grandchildren.”

This book is for anyone who likes a good story, has retired, is failing retirement, and enjoys a fun read.  One does not need to read all three stories but they are so fun, Why not? THE REINVENTION OF ALBERT PAUGH

Related:
The Love Ceiling
Walter’s Muse

DOG CRAZY: A Novel of Love Lost and Found ~Meg Donohue

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

“Packed with deep emotion and charming surprises, DOG CRAZY is a bighearted and entertaining story that skillfully captures the bonds of love, the pain of separation, and the power of our dogs to heal us.”  (Book cover)

DOG CRAZY came my way via TLC BOOK TOURS for review and it was a delightful addition to a very busy week.  The uncorrected proof came in paperback form and just tucked into my carry bag for a week of medical appointments (“Growing Old is Not for Sissies”~ Jack Benny) and my husband even dove into it when he was the designated driver and water bottle handler.

Maggie Brennan is making big changes in her life by leaving her mom and dad who live in Philadelphia and moving to a new apartment in San Francisco; starting a Pet Bereavement Therapy Practice on her own.  The apartment is within her former roommate’s home so not everything is new.  Maggie’s mother is agoraphobic and has not left her house without heavy medication for nearly 30 years.   Maggie also has her trusty dog Toby to help her make the transition.

Maggie sets out in San Francisco to make the connections to start her practice and finds an animal rescue group who refers her first clients and she is able to do lots of volunteering for them on their website.  Apparently, Toby was only meant to assist with the move and the actual living this new life with Maggie was not on the list and he becomes ill and dies.  This causes major problems for Maggie and threatens to ruin this new opportunity.

Along comes a very “INTERESTING” young woman who believes her dog has been stolen and does not want any therapy for her missing dog, just assistance in walking SF to find him.  With Anya in need and with “the assistance of a poodle, a mutt, and Basset retriever named Seymour” the funny, poignant story begins to unfold creating healing.

This story had a gentle voice in the telling, and I would have loved to take this story and my own pooch to the beach to savor.  It so reminded me of the Women’s Magazines full of short stories that my mother loved to read in the late afternoon with a cup of tea.  This tail/tale is about 255 pages long and I could pick it up and put it down with out losing the story line or any of the dog identities.  It was an easy to read study of how we humans handle loss and fear and that everything changes with one step at a time.  Very entertaining – DOG CRAZY.

MEG DONOHUE is the USA TODAY bestselling author of HOW TO EAT A CUPCAKE and ALL THE SUMMER GIRLS.  She has an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University and a BA in Comparative literature from Dartmouth College.  Born and raised in Philadelphia, she now lives in San Francisco with her husband, children, and dog.    (From Book cover)

Meg Donohue Facebook

Related:
Short Leash
Merle’s Door
The Language of Hoofbeats
WILD 

JOY STREET: Poems ~Laura Foley

Friday, January 16th, 2015

“Who would have thought poems about dead husbands, distanced fathers, and social awkwardness could evoke such a sense of hope, and even laughter?…this is the magic of Laura Foley’s latest collection of poetic narratives.”  (-Joni B. Cole, author of Toxic Feedback, Helping Writers Survive and Thrive.  From promotion material)

The JOY STREET poems are an autobiography in 33 short verses.

CONCORD

Over an omelet and toast Clara’s made for us, I
ask if she minds my morning silence, a time when spirit composes,
and if I listen quietly enough, I hope my pen will
translate its music for my mind.
Clara says we’re listening to a symphony of us,
with a bridge between our solos.

I have read this little book with its lovely verses a number of times.

JOY STREET poems are about life and love with sorrow, laughter, and cancer; illuminating love.

TLC Book Tours sent me this lovely – de  light  full PDF e-book for review.  I do so enjoy a good poem.  Thank you

I highly recommend this book even if you do not read a poem a day.

About the author:

Laura Foley is the author of four poetry collections.  The Glass Tree won the Foreword Book of the Year Award, Silver, and was a Finalist for the New Hampshire Writer’s Project, Outstanding Book of Poetry. Her poems have appeared in journals and magazines including Valparaiso Poetry Review, Inquiring Mind, Pulse Magazine, Poetry Nook, Lavender Review, and in the anthology, In the Arms of Words: Poems for Disaster Relief.  She won Harpur Palate’s Milton Kessler Memorial Poetry Award and the Grand Prize for the Atlanta Review’s International Poetry Contest. She lives on a woody hill in South Pomfret, Vermont with her partner Clara Gimenez and their three dogs. Please visit her website for book information or more poems: laurafoley.net. (from the TLC tour page)

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LUST
POETRY 
FOG ISLAND MOUNTAIN 
A Breast Cancer Alphabet