Hyde’s followers, who love the warmth and inspiration they draw from her work (Walk Me Home, 2013, etc.), won’t be disappointed by this latest effort.
August is on his way to Yellowstone to go camping, but his RV has broken down, leaving him and his small part–Jack Russell terrier, Woody, stranded in a one-horse desert town. While the mechanic, Wes, works on the vehicle, the science teacher frets that he won’t have enough money to make it to the park. He’s not going for pleasure, although that was the original purpose of the trip; instead, he’s transporting some of his son’s ashes so he can sprinkle them around the park. He and Phillip, who was killed in the car accident that led to the breakup of August’s marriage, had planned the trip together. Now it seems as though the RV’s engine repairs will eat up most of his cash. Then Wes makes August an offer he can’t refuse: Finish your trip, but take my two boys with you, and I won’t charge you anything. The boys, 12-year-old Seth, and Henry, 7, will go into the foster system if Wes, who's scheduled to serve 90 days in jail, can’t find an alternative. August refuses but finally relents, and what follows is a lifelong bond among a recovering alcoholic, a wise young boy who's been forced to play the grown-up since his mom walked out, and sweet but silent Henry. Hyde’s books can be almost relentlessly uplifting, but in her case, that’s not a bad thing. She does it well and manages to avoid bringing religion, schmaltz or improbable outcomes into the mix, instead relying on crisp, clean prose and a straightforward method of storytelling that has its own unique appeal.
A story about good people doing their best to survive, combined with a message that will cause readers to close the book feeling a bit more hopeful about humanity.