Author: Catherine Ryan Hyde
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Jackie and Paula, a same-sex couple have three foster children – two teenagers, Star and Mando, and a young boy, Quinn, who they have adopted. The five of them, along with numerous cats and dogs, move to a small town. An unconventional family moving to a new place could be the catalyst for all sorts of problems. Put all that together with a neighbor, Clem, who seems very hateful, and it could be a disaster.
Clem is a caustic, bitter woman to her husband and everyone she meets. Children in town call her the “mean old lady.” Before the new family is even unpacked, Clem is already acting hateful.
Star is the couple’s newest foster child and my heart went out to her. She’s a troubled teenaged girl who holds herself off from people and is quick to anger. She’s is drawn to Comet, Clem’s horse. Star reognized the neglect in the horse and wants to help. Clem immediately forbids Star from trespassing on her property. Star still tries to help the horse, but only when Clem is not watching.
Jackie and Paula caution all three of the children to stay away from Clem’s place. They just want to avoid conflict and make a good adjustment to their new hometown. However, when Star and the horse disappear, the conflict and worry escalats up a higher level.
While reading the first part of this book I thought that, maybe, I’d made a mistake by picking this book. I really didn’t like any of the adult characters. As the story progressed, I became drawn in to the personalities and then I began to look at Clem in a more sympathetic way. I know that seldom is one person so negative just by themselves. Some event or events usually occur that cause negativity and that’s what happened to Clem.
Overall, I liked The Language of Hoffbeats, but I have to say I didn’t love it. You know that characters in a book are what matters to me. Somehow these characters were just a bit too pat. It’s still a good story, so don’t let me keep you from reading it.
About the author:
Catherine Ryan Hyde is the bestselling author of twenty-four novels, including the 1999 smash hitPay It Forward,which has been translated into more than two dozen languages, and was made into a major motion picture starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment. In addition to her novels, Hyde is the author of more than fifty short stories and is founder and former president (2000–2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation. During her years as a professional public speaker, she addressed the National Conference on Education, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with President Bill Clinton.