Catherine Ryan Hyde’s “Ask Him Why”

Synopsis:  Ruth and Aubrey are just simple teens when their older brother, Joseph, ships off to the Iraq.  But when Joseph returns only 3 months later, with a dishonourable discharge, his family is put in a media crossfire.

We view the story from the perspective of Ruth, as she tries to get the secret out of her parents and Joseph.  She is beside herself that no one will talk about it, and feels the ramifications of Joseph’s actions are directly affecting young Aubrey.  Ruth has to be the grown up in her family, at a time when she is really too young to understand the politics of it all.

Joseph, thinking removing himself from the situation is the best option, goes into hiding.  Not only has his tarnished his family name, but his relationships are in shambles.

Ruth and Aubrey are determined to find him, and figure out the truth.

Outlook: This was my first book by Catherine Ryan Hyde, and I bought it based on ratings and the synopsis.  It was written in the biographical style I prefer (although the book is fiction) but it also had a slight thriller element to it.  At least, I was gripped by it at certain points.  I was captivated by the plot, and I just had to know what Joseph had done to deserve 333 pages of scrutiny.

Although we don’t find out till almost the end of the novel what Joseph has done, a long the way Ruth and rebellious Aubrey meet a man known as Hamish, who Joseph viewed a father figure.  The introduction of the Hamish character really pulls the story together, and the scene Hyde sets up around Hamish and his home makes for a great read.

However, there are times when the book is slow, and I could easily put it down and come back later, often doing just that.  Overall, I would recommend this book despite its slow middle, as the Hamish character is not to be missed.

Featured image courtesy of JP Solatorio

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