In Say Goodbye for Now, Catherine Ryan Hyde, creates a fantastic picture of compelling characters living in a time of great upheaval.
Dr. Lucy lives alone by choice. Her acceptance into her small Texan community in 1959 is doubtful and as a female veterinarian, she is looked upon with suspicion. Her free spirited ways and her refusal to bend to convention mark her as different than the usual small town resident.
When young Pete Solomon, a young boy being raised by a dictatorial father, finds a young wolf hybrid in need of help, it is Dr. Lucy to whom he turns. He has no means to care for the animal himself, and he trusts Dr. Lucy to do all she can to ensure the animal’s survival. On his path to Dr. Lucy’s out-of-the-way home, Pete meets Justin, an African American boy who is living under the tyranny of racial discrimination in years before the Civil Rights movement. They become fast friends, but with consequences for both of them.
When Justin’s father, Calvin, investigates his son’s newfound friendship, he also develops a relationship with the unusual doctor. However, these people are not allowed to speak, much less become friendly, in this community. Their bonds are soon tested and their love and respect for each other becomes hard to maintain—and any attempt to become a family of sorts is met with violence, misunderstanding, and conflict. The power of love and hope is strong, however, and the reunion between these four characters demonstrates a changing world and a steady love.
I loved Say Goodbye for Now. It is written in a straightforward and simple style. I found the story to be quiet and compelling. Catherine Ryan Hyde creates characters that I understood and cared about. Each of them was a complex well-drawn person with motivations, flaws, and strengths. The scenes of violence were brutal but realistic for the time. I found myself rooting for the four main characters to find each other in a permanent way and I would not hesitate to recommend this book to others. Very moving and readable.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Regina