Take Me With You
Catherine Ryan Hyde
Lake Union Publishing
August Schroeder is heavy-hearted: his motor home, broken down and towed to a garage; his annual summer trip to Yellowstone on hold. For two days he passes time watching his Jack Russell terrier Woody run circles around two young boys hanging around the back of the garage. The mechanic, Wes, is sure he can get August on the road again, but not without making a pretty big dent in August’s gas money. August just might need to turn back–science teachers don’t have unlimited funds to both travel and make expensive repairs.
Until, that is, Wes throws out a stupid idea. A crazy one. What if August takes the boys, Seth and Henry, with him on the trip in exchange for free repairs? Just bring the boys back before school. Because Wes needs to pay a visit to the county jail for a few weeks. Like for a second (or is it third?) DUI.
Now August has plans for this trip. His son Phillip’s recent death left his marriage broken and sent August into recovery. He needs to come to terms with the his shattered life; he needs to put Phillip to rest. He can’t possibly take a twelve-year-old and a seven-year-old with him. Strangers, at that. Until he sees them sitting against the garage wall, waiting–suitcases at the ready.
And so begins the trip of a lifetime for two little boys. Things are not all warm and cozy at the garage and Wes, it turns out, is a neglectful father. They’ve been sent to foster care during previous jail time. Henry doesn’t speak. Seth is so eager to please, so good, we know his pain runs deep.
This is a sweet and tender story. August answers the boys questions with the patience of Job and navigates their emotional lives with compassion. In fact, August sometimes seemed just a little too much of a model father figure, but nevermind. Everyone needs a feel-good story once in a while. And this one worked for me, satisfying epilogue and all.
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