On an isolated Texas ranch, Dr. Lucy cares for abandoned animals. The solitude allows her to avoid the people and places that remind her of the past. Not that any of the townsfolk care. In 1959, no one is interested in a woman doctor. Nor are they welcoming Calvin and Justin Bell, a newly arrived African American father and son.
When Pete Solomon, a neglected twelve-year-old boy, and Justin bring a wounded wolf-dog hybrid to Dr. Lucy, the outcasts soon find refuge in one another. Lucy never thought she’d make connections again, never mind fall in love. Pete never imagined he’d find friends as loyal as Justin and the dog. But these four people aren’t allowed to be friends, much less a family, when the whole town turns violently against them.
With heavy hearts, Dr. Lucy and Pete say goodbye to Calvin and Justin. But through the years they keep hope alive…waiting for the world to catch up with them.
Catherine Ryan Hyde has written over 30 novels including Pay it Forward which was made into a movie in 2000.Her latest book, Say Goodbye For Now is a touching story taking place from the late 1950s to the late 1960s. It starts out with Pete, a 12 year old boy finding what he thinks is an injured dog on the side of the road in a small Texas town. His good pal ditches him to go fishing so Pete, an honest, goodhearted soul decides to help the injured animal on his own. He runs into another young boy, Justin, who agrees to walk with him for a short while and after many miles he delivers the lame dog he calls Prince to a doctor, Dr. Lucy, who has since given up her human practice to take in injured animals and nurse them back to health. Dr. Lucy informs Pete that Prince is part wolf and is a wild animal that will need to be released once he heals but Pete is hopeful that will not be the case.
Some townspeople saw Pete walking to the Dr. with Justin and informed Pete’s dad. It is 1959 and whites fraternizing with blacks was looked down upon so Pete’s dad, a small minded, power hungry, single father on leave from work due to a back injury whipped his son and threatened him. And then Justin was violently beat up. Pete brought injured and bloody Justin to Dr. Lucy and Calvin, Justin’s concerned and loving dad arrived to make sure his boy was ok.
The connection between Lucy and Calvin was immediate and undeniable. Calvin was appreciative for the care Lucy was giving his son, but there was more to it. Yet it was dangerous and against the law for them to be together. The people in the small town in Texas were not in favor of mixed race relationships and they went so far as to beat up Calvin and get him sent to jail.
Would the laws prevent Lucy and Calvin from ever having a chance to let their relationship grow? Who would take care of Justin when his dad was in jail? Could Pete go home back to his abusive father? Could Lucy open up her heart and her home to Pete, Justin and Calvin? What would happen when Prince was healed? If you love animals, friendship, forbidden love and what is right, you will be touched by this novel.
Say Goodbye For Now is set during a time where the laws prevented freedom. Loving vs Virginia is the actual civil rights decision of the US. Supreme Court that came about in 1967. It stated that previous laws prohibiting interracial marriage were invalid. So finally, approximately 8 years after Lucy and Calvin met, interracial relationships were declared legal.
The characters in Say Goodbye For Now show us that those who rescue others also need to be rescued. Caring, appreciative people with solid moral values have a good chance at finding happiness and seeing the good in the world while judgmental people with fears and prejudice may always be fighting to stay on top by beating others down. And, most of all, saying goodbye may not mean forever. This emotional story pulled at my heartstrings and I read the second half through my tears.