Walk Me Home by Catherine Ryan Hyde is a contemporary novel about searching to belong and I really enjoyed it.
Sixteen year old Carly and eleven year old Jen spend much of the novel walking. They are on a journey looking for home. Carly has a restless spirit that cannot settle. She is focussed in her search. Jen has a calmer nature. She knows a truth that Carly has yet to grasp – home is not a place, home is a relationship and being with people who love you. Will Carly ever grasp this truth?
Carly and Jen are a unit. They are sisters. They have a bond. Carly has a dominant personality. She loves Jen but doesn’t always hear correctly what she is saying. Carly wants Jen and everything else in the world to fit in with her views. She fails to mould her life into the circumstances and people around her.
Catherine Ryan Hyde presents a wonderful picture of the Native Americans in her fictional Wakapi tribe. The reader can ‘feel’ their love and concern and ‘see’ their way of life.
Jen is far closer to the natural world than Carly. “You think if it wasn’t made by a person, it’s nothing at all.” Jen can see the beauty in nature and adapts to her surroundings whereas Carly just sees a barren landscape.
The girls have a great moral code. They realise stealing is wrong. Carly has every intention of repaying whatever they borrowed. They both have good hearts.
The reader can ‘feel’ Carly’s pain as she searched to belong. It seemed to her that in all circumstances, Jen was always chosen over her. Carly felt like a second class citizen and just wanted to be put first in life.
Catherine Ryan Hyde showed how people can have big hearts. Not everyone is motivated by the “what’s in it for me?” syndrome. Some people just give without expecting anything back. The reader has their faith restored in the goodness of humanity.
Walk Me Home did have its dark themes of alcoholism, child abuse and domestic abuse. All were sensitively dealt with by Catherine Ryan Hyde. The reader was left at the close of the novel, with the innate feeling that people are good and kind.
I love Catherine Ryan Hyde’s novels. I always know that I am going to be completely absorbed in the pages of the book. I can highly recommend her novels.