This novel is a bit different from those I typically read, but there’s just something so refreshing and heartwarming about Catherine Ryan Hyde’s storytelling, I just cannot pass her up. This latest gem is no exception!
Stewie Little is a young, empathic 11-year-old boy who resides with his older sister Stacey and his handicapped older brother Theo. Still reeling from the death of his grandmother, “Gam”, he devotes himself to her flock of chickens, and sells the eggs they produce to their neighbors. On this particular day, he has a couple dozen left over in his wagon, so he continues to a home a little farther up the road, where he happens upon Marilyn, a brash, irascible old woman, who reminds him strangely of his grandmother. He makes the sale and promises to return next week with more eggs.
Marilyn has her own quirks. She resides with a young single mother, gaining free room and board in exchange for childcare. As the reader quickly learns, Marilyn has memory issues and is fearful that the police are going to find her any day now. From day to day, the reader sees evidence of her dementia – her inability to remember things, like Stewie’s name – and her fear of being caught, but like most with early dementia, she covers it well.
In spite of these challenges, both Marilyn & Stewie find a little something in one another that neither knew they needed. Inspired by this little boy, Marilyn purchases a copy of the book, Stuart Little, so Stewie can read about his namesake. Shortly thereafter, she realizes that Stewie is unable to read. Angered over the school system seemingly failing this boy, Marilyn goes into town for a word with the principal, passing herself off as his grandmother. Then the police do come…with Stewie witnessing Marilyn’s arrest.
As Stewie struggles to understand the nuances of right and wrong, he begins to understand that people can do wrong things without being ‘bad’, and that people can deeply hurt the ones they love without ever meaning to. He also learns of the power of love, loss, grieving and acceptance, as well as the importance of moving on, and in doing so teaches the reader a thing or two as well.
A wonderful story, from a wonderful writer – will give you all the feels!!
I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley & Lake Union Publishing in exchange for an objective review. Do you love to read?? Visit netgalley.com and start reviewing books today!!