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Love In The Present Tense


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The magical story of a young boy's search for his mother

About the Author

Catherine Ryan Hyde, an acclaimed novelist and award-winning short-story writer, is the author of the story collection Earthquake Weather and of the novels Funerals for Horses, Electric God and Pay it Forward, which was named an ALA Book of the Year and made into a feature film starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt. She lives in Cambria, California.


Uniting vivid, needy characters in unlikely relationships is Hyde's specialty (Pay It Forward), evidenced in her emotional sixth novel. Featuring a tough teen, her sweet son, and their flawed but sincere neighbor, each take turns narrating their story in fresh, distinct voices. At thirteen, Pearl lives with a kind prostitute while her mom copes with a crippling drug addiction. In one tragic night, Pearl gets herself pregnant and accidentally kills the father, a police officer; on the run, Pearl decides that she and her son, Leonard, will share a "forever love," an unbreakable and unconditional bond. Pearl protects Leonard like a lioness, shielding him from the dangerous world and the tragic story of his father. At five, Leonard-smart, loving and saddled with a degenerative eye disease-stays with 25-year-old next-door neighbor Mitch while Pearl works; when Pearl disappears, Mitch must assume responsibility for Leonard-not easy to do while maintaining a home business and an affair with a client's wife. Despite Pearl's mysterious departure, Leonard stays true to her "forever love," denying that he has been abandoned. Mitch isn't so sure, and when Leonard begins having his own doubts, they both must re-examine their beliefs. Hyde excels in sentimental, utopian storytelling, and though it isn't as sharp a hook as "paying it forward," her story of a love that transcends time, place and human weakness is a worthy successor. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Adult/High School-Streetwise Pearl is 13 when she gets pregnant and accidentally shoots her baby's father, a police officer. Over the next five years, she and her son, Leonard, move from place to place as the teen worries about repercussions from the killing. Her past catches up with her, and, when she disappears, the boy is left with their neighbor, 25-year-old Mitch. Narrated in the alternating voices of the principal characters, this novel is an examination of relationships and special bonds. As close as Leonard becomes to Mitch over the years, he never stops feeling Pearl's presence in a tangible way: her "forever love" for him. He contrasts this with what Mitch calls love: a long-term relationship with an older married woman that seems hurtful to all involved. Both Leonard's and Mitch's outlooks on love are flawed, and it is not until they almost lose everything that they recognize how completely they have transformed themselves into a family, and how remarkable their attachment is. While somewhat predictable, this is a sweet story that will be a hit with readers who enjoyed Hyde's Pay It Forward (S & S, 2000).-Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

A sweet and honest look at the pains and pleasures of love, and who could not fall in love with Leonard-what a beautifully drawn character * Jane Green *
A work of art...enchanting * San Francisco Chronicle *
Haunting * Washington Post *
Hyde excels in her story of a love that transcends time, place and human weakness * Publishers Weekly *
A magnificent storyteller * The Denver Post *

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