About Say Goodbye for Now
Paperback: 364 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (December 13, 2016)
On an isolated Texas ranch, Dr. Lucy cares for abandoned animals. The solitude allows her to avoid the people and places that remind her of the past. Not that any of the townsfolk care. In 1959, no one is interested in a woman doctor. Nor are they welcoming Calvin and Justin Bell, a newly arrived African American father and son.
When Pete Solomon, a neglected twelve-year-old boy, and Justin bring a wounded wolf-dog hybrid to Dr. Lucy, the outcasts soon find refuge in one another. Lucy never thought she’d make connections again, never mind fall in love. Pete never imagined he’d find friends as loyal as Justin and the dog. But these four people aren’t allowed to be friends, much less a family, when the whole town turns violently against them.
With heavy hearts, Dr. Lucy and Pete say goodbye to Calvin and Justin. But through the years they keep hope alive…waiting for the world to catch up with them.
“[A] heartwarming tale of transgression and redemption.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A moving story about patience, trust, the families we choose, and the love it takes to let somebody go.” —Booklist
Small town, Texas. 1959. In the middle of the night two men approach the house of Dr. Lucy Armstrong who lives outside the town, isolated from everything and everyone. Just the way Dr. Lucy likes it. One of these men has been shot and needs medical care, and rumor has it that Dr. Lucy will fix him up for a fee, and not report it to the police. She has multiple dogs and when the men approach the dogs start barking, waking Lucy up. She is gruff, unfriendly, and lights up a cigarette right there in the examining room. (Yuck!) Lucy removes the bullet from the man for $100, and send them on their way.
Dr. Lucy despises the townspeople for their close-minded lack of acceptance of her as a physician. Instead she stays to herself and takes in all kinds of wounded and injured animals and doctors them. She has horses, multiple dogs, an eagle, among other things. People would only complicate her life.
Pete and his friend Jacky are walking to the lake one summer day, when they spot a wolf mix who is beside the road and injured. Pete wants to help the animal, but Jacky doesn’t. Jacky goes fishing and leaves Pete to figure out what to do. Pete is 12 and for a young boy he is a deep thinker. He manages to get the big wolf dog in a wagon and walks miles to the vet. The vet throws him out saying this type of animal is dangerous, and because Pete has no money. I think the no money was the main factor in refusing care.
Pete has heard of Dr. Lucy and he figures that since she is a doctor she will know what to do. This is his only option. She is surly and unkind, but does not refuse to treat the animal. When Pete finally makes it home, he is whipped by his angry father for being late.
Despite his punishment and warnings from his father, Pete continues to go to Dr. Lucy’s to see the dog and one day while walking makes friends with a new boy in town, Justin. Justin and his father are black and their friendship does not sit well with Pete’s dad or the other narrow-minded people of the small town in which he lives. Pete does not understand why he can’t be friends with Justin and his father whips him until he bleeds. Pete runs away and has no where to go – except to Dr. Lucy’s. She grudgingly takes him in.
Thus begins a series of events that will change the lives of everyone in the story. Whether those changes are good or bad, can only be determined by reading the book for oneself. There are characters in the book that you love and others that you love to hate. There are parts of the book that I struggled with because they were so gritty and true to life, such as Pete being whipped and Justin being beaten badly just because he is black. (I know those things happen “out there,” but I always like to keep my rose-colored glasses on.) Despite the sadness and anger that surfaced as I was reading, I also experienced relief and happiness. I will say the book was excellent and the story was very realistically portrayed. I was prepared to dislike Dr. Lucy and write her off as a coarse, angry, cigarette-smoking hag. I wanted to adopt Pete and the wolf-dog, Prince, and I wanted to know how his mother could leave Pete behind with his horrible father.
As a side note, Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of Pay It Forward which was made into a movie with Kevin Spacey and Haley Joel Osment. I would recommend this book to all. It is an excellent story and very well done. I give the book 5 of 5 stars.
Thank you to TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read this book. I appreciate being included in the tour.
About Catherine Ryan Hyde
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 Worldwere 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, theVirginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and the Sun, and in the anthologiesSanta 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.
Connect with Catherine Ryan Hyde
Catherine Ryan Hyde’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, December 12th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Tuesday, December 13th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Tuesday, December 13th: Cindy Burnett
Wednesday, December 14th: Chick Lit Central
Thursday, December 15th: 100 Pages a Day
Friday, December 16th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, December 19th: Reading Reality
Monday, December 19th: Barbara Kahn
Tuesday, December 20th: Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, December 20th: Tina Says…
Wednesday, December 21st: Write Read Life
Thursday, December 22nd: Readaholic Zone
Friday, December 23rd: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, December 26th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Wednesday, December 28th: 5 Minutes for Books
Tuesday, December 28th: I’d Rather Be at the Beach
Thursday, December 29th: Mama Vicky Says
Monday, January 2nd: Bibliotica
Wednesday, January 4th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Thursday, January 5th: Dwell in Possibility
Date TBD: BookBub Blog – author guest post