I first heard of Catherine Ryan Hyde when the movie Pay it Forward was released, as I found out she was the author of the book the film was based on. Since then I have marked all her books as “to read” but haven’t read one until now. And after finishing this one, I don’t plan to wait so long until the next.
Say Goodbye For Now tells the story of Lucy Armstrong, a doctor who lives with the animals she rehabilitates and prefers to be left alone. Right away we are also introduced to Pete, a 12-year-old boy who happens upon a wild animal and determines it’s up to him to keep him alive. As Pete befriends a new boy in his rescue mission, the reader quickly learns that the 1959 time setting of this novel makes all the difference because Justin is African-American, and the townspeople in this Texas town do not treat newcomers so nicely, especially ones who look different from them.
A lot of this story reminded me so much of a favorite book of 2014, Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler. Both tell of interracial relationships that were not approved of by outsiders. You can even see the resemblance in both book covers.
I loved the character of Pete and thought he was so well fleshed out. Even coming from an abusive background, he was a promise-keeper and knew better than what he learned from home. Seeing as most of the book takes place with Pete as a soon-to-be teenager, this book would make a great read for high school students to get a glimpse of the prevalent racism of the ’60s. Even the Loving vs. Virginia case is touched upon.
Book clubs will also have a lot to discuss, especially in the character relationships and choices that affect adult and child alike. There’s also a list of questions ready to go in the back of the book.