Feb 17, 2012

Review: Don't Let Me Go by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Don't Let Me Go. by Catherine Ryan Hyde by Catherine Ryan Hyde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: finished copy from the publisher

Don't Let Me Go is a poignant story wrapped in generous amounts of hope and love and optimism. Stories about children of drug addicts generally don't make for fun, amusing or laugh out loud reads, but Catherine Ryan Hyde found a way to make it a very enjoyable book by shifting the balance to things that kind of get lost when talking about the above mentioned.

In the center of the story is Grace and a few neighbors living in the same flat who were strangers to each other until the mutual care for Grace pulls them closer together. I enjoyed getting to know them bit by bit and grew quite fond of them (even shed a tear or two), though at points it seemed like some characters were underdeveloped. They are presented in a specific time span, a limited environment and in close relation to Grace and her well-being, which made me feel like they lacked some depth. You get a brief glance, hear a thing or two from outside the frame and hope to hear more about it, but it's just left hanging in the air. Also, in my case the shifting between radically different voices accounted for a slower reading tempo, especially in the beginning.

I liked the writing and the maturity of the prose. Hyde's experience shines through in every sentence, everything is well-balanced and you really get the sense that every word was carefully chosen. The author did a great job putting us into Grace's (tap dance)shoes. And a little girl will be very concerned about her dancing and her cat and what kind of pizza to order and also about mom who's passed out six days a week. In that order. When you see it through the eyes of a child, you realize that the "grownup" perspective and method are sometimes utterly wrong and as the tagline says, sometimes a child really knows best.

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