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Say Goodbye for Now


Say Goodbye for Now

In 1959 Texas, two boys amble down the road, headed to a local lake for some summer fishing. Pete Solomon sees what he thinks is a big dead dog on the side of the highway. But the canine that looks like a wolf isn’t actually dead but instead is terribly injured, with a leg that’s most likely broken. Pete is compelled to get help, unlike his friend, who leaves them both to head on to his fishing destination. But how does a 12-year-old boy get a very large, injured, somewhat wild dog to the veterinarian, and without getting bitten?

Pete remembers his old Radio Flyer wagon, which is hidden under piles of castoffs at home in his garage, and starts off to retrieve it. However, he will have to unload the wagon and get it out of the house without the notice of his dangerous, angry father, who’s at home on workers’ comp, resting after an injury at the factory. He moves quietly and carefully, and gets the wagon without waking him up.

But how can Pete get the huge animal into the wagon without getting bitten by its fierce fangs? Surprisingly, the dog allows himself to be led and hefted into it. And Pete heads off to the vet, pulling the wagon gently over bumpy road. But the haughty vet won’t treat what he considers to be a wild animal. A kind woman gives Pete the address of a female doctor, six miles out of town, whom she has heard will also care for sick animals.

"Catherine Ryan Hyde is a most discerning and gifted writer.... SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW is a tour de force, perfect for today’s readers."

Dr. Lucy does indeed treat ailing beasts, as well as humans with injuries that bring them to her back door when they’re trying to avoid a hospital and its related questions. She lives alone, out in the country a bit, separating herself from those who don’t think a woman should practice medicine, and pretty much every other relationship. As Pete carefully hauls the wagon and dog out to Dr. Lucy’s place, a boy he’s never seen starts walking along with him and asking about the dog. They chat, and a friendship is born --- even though in Pete’s world, white boys don’t hang out with African-American ones.

Dr. Lucy is irritated when Pete arrives with the wolf-dog, but she treats Prince (so named by Pete because he is such a noble animal). After promising to return the next day, Pete heads back into town. But trouble is waiting at home. His father’s friend, Boomer Leggett, said that he saw Pete with a colored child, and Pete’s punishment is a whipping with the razor strop that leaves him bleeding and bruised, along with threats of more if he is ever seen with Justin Bell again.

The threats against Pete aren’t the only danger ahead. Justin, too, is in terrible danger, although he doesn’t know it yet. And the resulting attack on the child brings five individuals (if you count the wolf-dog) together whose lives will be forever changed: Dr. Lucy, Pete, Prince, Justin, and Justin’s father, Calvin. These relationships, in 1959 in the South, can only result in devastation for each one of them, if discovered. Choices must be made, with potentially great cost. But out in the distance, however faint it may be, there just may be a glimmer of hope.

Catherine Ryan Hyde is a most discerning and gifted writer. She writes quietly yet powerfully, with words chosen and placed carefully, words that enfold and pull the reader deeply into her story. As I read, I forgot that her characters weren’t actually living, breathing people. I loved Pete, Prince, Justin, Dr. Lucy and Calvin so deeply, and truly longed for good to come to them and tragedy to be overcome. SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW is a tour de force, perfect for today’s readers. You’ll want to read it again and again --- and then find more books from this exceptional author.

Reviewed by Melanie Reynolds on December 16, 2016

Say Goodbye for Now
by Catherine Ryan Hyde

  • Publication Date: December 13, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1503939448
  • ISBN-13: 9781503939448