Monday, September 2, 2013

Walk Me Home by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Walk Me Home
by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Review by Sharon Powers.

The author of this intriguing book, Catherine Ryan Hyde, is a prodigious writer and is the author of the well-known and widely-acclaimed book, Pay It Forward. Pay it Forward is included in ALA's 2001 list of Best Books For Young Adults; also, the book was selected to be turned into a major motion picture movie with the same title: Pay It Forward. Additionally, she is the founder of the Pay It Forward Foundation. And, no, this is not a review of Pay It Forward; I include this information, here, for those readers who may not be aware of Catherine Ryan Hyde's body of work.

Right from the get-go, I have to say, "I like the photograph used for the book cover." This wonderful landscape photo (done in portrait mode), entices the reader to pick up the book and delve its pages to find out why...why are two young girls are walking along a deserted highway all alone?

As the story opens, we find two girls, Carly and her sister Jen, outside in the night sneaking past a big house --trying with all their might to be quiet so as not to be discovered. We don't know, yet, why the urgency and stealth, but we quickly learn that something terrible has happened in the family to leave 16 year-old Carly in charge of her 11 year-old sister, Jen. After attempting to hitch-hike and a narrow escape from a creepy man, the girls decide to give up trying to hitch-hike and instead, to just start walking--to walk home. Hence, the title of the book.

This story is about a journey the two girls take to find their home. We become privy to the girls misadventures as they begin their walk--everything from stealing shoes from a thrift store to spending a night in a junker of a car with a coiled up rattlesnake. The privation takes a toll on the girls and they suffer from hunger, heat, cold, and dehydration. Then, they try to steal eggs from a chicken coop on a run-down ranch on Wakapi Indian land. They don't make it...they are caught by an old woman wielding a shotgun. The woman, Delores, gives them the choice of working off the debt or her calling the tribal police.

A gift from Delores to Jen.
In a series of flashbacks, the rest of the story unfolds for us and we begin to see why the girls went walking towards the home they think is in California. Why they are searching for Teddy, who, as Carly puts it, is the only person she trusts completely. A tug of war over who they should trust and a shocking secret threatens to keep the girls from ever trusting each other again or ever finding their way home. Sadly, the girls are separated. But maybe, just maybe, they can work their way back to each other by learning to trust again and maybe then they can even find their way home.

What is it that I like about this book? Well, you already know that I love how the photograph used for the cover entices the reader to pick it up and delve into it. The opening chapter is similarly constructed. We are enticed into the girl's world. A mystery exists from the beginning about what the young girls are doing sneaking by a house in the middle of the night. We are sucked into the story right from the beginning as we wonder what could have caused the girls to flee. The author gives us just enough information to pique our interest and keep us reading to find out more.

I also love the flashbacks. The technique allows the author to begin the story where the girls are sneaking out in the middle of the night. By starting the story that way, she's able to dole out pieces of information little-by-little which, in turn, helps the story gradually build to the climax. Carly, now separated from her sister, Jen, has made it all the way to California and finally tracked down Teddy. The resolution that occurs at the meeting of the two characters is dramatic and one that permits Carly to discover who she can really trust. It also enables her to discover where her home is really located.

While the ending is not the Somewhere Over The Rainbow ending some readers look for, it can't be denied that the writing is masterful and thought-provoking. I'm glad I read this book. This book was easy to rate and I'm glad I found a place for it on my digital bookshelf--albeit temporarily.

I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Good Reads Readers rated 3.87 out of 5 stars.  (271 Ratings)
Barnes and Noble Readers rated 0.0 out of 5 stars. (0 Ratings)
Amazon Readers rated it 4.4 out of 5 stars. (374 Ratings)
People Magazine Readers rated it 4.0 out of 5 stars. (Unk. # Ratings)

This book is available, unabridged, in Kindle Edition, paperback, mp3, CD and audiobook from many booksellers. I choose to read my version as an Amazon Kindle Ed., through the Amazon's Kindle Owners' Lending Library (meaning, that I borrowed it from their digital library for free (because I am a Prime member) and returned it when I finished reading it).

Happy Labor Day to everyone. I hope you have a safe, happy and restful day off today. Enjoy this post, eat some good BBQ, perhaps take in a movie. We all deserve a day we can celebrate by relaxing and having fun. Of course, one thing you can always do is to go out and sit in the shade of a tree in your back yard and . . . relax there with a good book.

Until next time...

Many happy pages of reading.


__________________________________________ the book, Walk Me Home, Kindle Ed. from Amazon;; Pay It Forward from Amazon; 2001 ALA's list of Best Books For Young Adults; Pay It Forward DVD on Amazon; Pay It  Forward Foundation; Rattlesnake; A gift from Delores; ; Barnes & Noble; Amazon Readers; Kindle Owner's Lending Library;