Just a Regular Boy, a review by Di

posted in: 5 star read, Di | 0

Catherine Ryan Hyde

Lake Union Publishing
May 2, 2023
316 pages

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Every once in a while I read a book that I really enjoy but I lack the words to give it the review it deserves. This is one of them.

This is the tragic story of Remy, which turns out better. Remy is the 5 year old son of a Survivalist father. His mother has passed away and his father turns to flight mode to escape the β€œ conflagration” which is sure to come. They live in the woods. The father dies and Remy is left on his own, to turn into a wild child. A wild child suffering unbelievable PTSD.

Anne is a woman whole likes to foster impossible children, to atone for psychological issues from her formative years. Predictably, she takes in Remy. At this point, Remy is a very damaged 8 year old child. Physically and mentally. And completely bewildered.

The story is told in alternate voices of Remy and Anne. Each version of the story is compelling on its own. Parts of the storyline seem to be predictable, yet at the same time unrealistic. But that did not stop me from turning pages.

I love Remy’s character. I just want to hug him. He is a bright little boy who suffered so much. Anne’s character is a little harder to warm up to. At times her relationship with her husband is tenuous. Their 2 children, Peter and Janie (former foster children, who were adopted) cautiously welcome Remy into their fold.

A lot is going on in the background of this story besides Remy’s rehab. The pandemic (masks and vaccinations are mentioned) and a school shooting. Some reviewers have mentioned that this seems like overkill. But, realistically, life in the world happens around us every day. Even to those who are trying to recover from the worst thing in their world so far. Life during the pandemic was tough for everyone. I saw one review mention that the author was pushing her own agenda. Mentioning the pandemic and the procedures (masking, health questions, vaccinations) does not constitute an agenda. It was just the facts of life during the pandemic that affected the whole world.

This story highlights the plight of damaged foster children and the people who foster them. It’s a very difficult undertaking…..sometimes with good results, sometimes not. It really touched my heart when Remy says to his new Mom: β€œThank you for keeping me,” he said. Just like a normal boy.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the Advance Readers Copy.

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