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Don't Let Me Go Paperback – June 16, 2012
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“An excellent read.” –New Books Review
“Original and wonderful.” –The Sun
Former Broadway dancer and current agoraphobic Billy Shine has not set foot outside his apartment in almost a decade. He has glimpsed his neighbors—beautiful manicurist Rayleen, lonely old Ms. Hinman, bigoted and angry Mr. Lafferty, kind-hearted Felipe, and 9-year-old Grace and her former addict mother Eileen.
But most of them have never seen Billy. Not until Grace begins to sit outside on the building’s front stoop for hours every day, inches from Billy’s patio. Troubled by this change in the natural order, Billy makes it far enough out onto his porch to ask Grace why she doesn’t sit inside where it’s safe. Her answer: “If I sit inside, then nobody will know I’m in trouble. And then nobody will help me.”
Her answer changes everything.
By the bestselling author of WHEN I FOUND YOU, SECOND HAND HEART, and PAY IT FORWARD, DON’T LET ME GO is the heart-breaking, funny, and life-affirming story of a building full of loners and misfits who come together to help a little girl survive—and thrive—against all odds.
“Catherine Ryan Hyde at her utter best.” –ChickLit Reviews
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- Publisher : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 5/17/12 edition (June 16, 2012)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 434 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1477663096
- ISBN-13 : 978-1477663097
- Item Weight : 1.15 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.25 x 1.09 x 8 inches
- Customer Reviews:
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But the primary reason I'm reading it again was because I want to experience the characters, particularly one character, Billy, all over again, right away. I love him. I want to read again how he felt when someone touched him for the first time in years. I want to re-experience how he found himself loving someone and ventured out into a scary world for the sake of love. I want to hear again how he turned a fear into a friend. I want to see him dance down the street with Grace to school.
I've read three books by this author now. I have to say, I should not have started with the one that I did. I didn't care for it and thought I would never read anything else by her. In truth, I didn't recognize her name when I read the second one. I really enjoyed that book too so I gave this one a chance. I'm so glad I did and I'm so glad I recommended it to my book club.
This book is so insightful of human nature and it caused me to feel like there is good in this world, and unexpected good in people.
Case in point, the tenants in nine-year-old Grace Ferguson's apartment complex in L.A., lonely neighbors all, and wary of each other. They're in a dangerous part of town, after all. Why, if it weren't for Grace's sitting and sitting and sitting on the steps in front of their building, they probably would've cautiously kept on circling each other, preserving their distance.
It's surprising, it took a shut-in to extend a meaningful how do you do to the little girl. He asks why she's sitting there and sitting there, because the steps she's on are just outside his little balcony and he's bothered by that. Her heart-rending answer: "If I sit inside, then nobody will know I'm in trouble. And so then nobody will help me."
Right there, if you've got any smidge of humanity in you, you're hooked to the story. Sometimes, in a book or a movie or a play, comes a defining moment that captures you and keeps you thereafter confined to your seat, prisoner to the narrative. The little girl's poignant words were that for me.
I like that the little girl wasn't portrayed as perfect. Little Grace Ferguson is plump, and she has this loud, penetrating voice that carries and carries and makes folks jump and maybe spill their coffee. But she has this galvanizing way about her, kind of like a runaway freight train. She also has a drug addict for a mom who sleeps the days away. The agoraphobe with the severe anxiety disorder, Billy Shine, was the first to really interact with her. The other neighbors soon follow suit, some reluctantly. And, just like that, hey presto, an unlikely community that looked out for each other and looked out for Grace.
I say this with only three books of experience: Catherine Ryan Hyde storytells with uncommon grace. She takes characters who inhabit those lowly corners and places that we refuse to take a hard look into. She makes a shut-in a favorite character, messed-up Billy Shine who was vaguely famous years ago as some Broadway dancer until the stress got to be too much. Nowadays, the guy's prone to panic attacks. He's scared to be outside. But he's a lovable guy. If this were adapted to a movie, I imagine the juicy role of Billy Shine may snag someone some acting award. The other tenants, they're cool, too, especially the kindly manicurist and the fella who just got his heart broke, not that you could tell it by how quickly he jumped in to help care for the noisy little girl, all them tenants, see, become Grace's surrogate parents. Yes, even the resident bigot.
Let's not forget the other thing the author impressed on her readers, or, at least, on me. That, really, it didn't matter that the mom was an addict and an absentee mom, and that Grace recognized that her mom was a bad mom... she loved her anyway and kept hoping that she'll get better and change and be a normal mom. That may've been the most heartbreaking thing.
I have two quotes from the book that I scribbled down soon as I read them. One is an observation: "The people with the least to give always give the most." The other is maybe the best interpretation of addiction that I've heard ever, which is "That's all addiction really is. It's trading away the future so you can feel OK right now."