It’s Thursday and today, I turn 26 🥳 In this week’s post, we’re reviewing Dreaming of Flight by Catherine Ryan Hyde! I stumbled on this during a random NetGalley scrolling spree and I didn’t know it at the time, but I’d walked away with a treasure in hand!
Title: Dreaming of Flight
Author: Catherine Ryan Hyde
Edition: NetGalley > Ebook
Length: ~304 Pages
Genre/s: Fiction, Contemporary, Family
Rating: 5 Golden Eggs
Disclaimer: An eBook copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. This did not affect my review, and all opinions are mine.
An unexpected connection becomes the saving grace for two unlikely friends in a heart-stirring novel about love, loss, and moving forward by a New York Times and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author.
Never knowing his parents, eleven-year-old Stewie Little and his brother have been raised on a farm by their older sister. Stewie steadfastly tends the chickens left by his beloved late grandmother. And every day Stewie goes door to door selling fresh eggs from his wagon—a routine with a surprise just around the corner. It’s his new customer, Marilyn. She’s prickly and guarded, yet comfortably familiar—she reminds the grieving Stewie so much of the grandmother he misses more than he can express.
Marilyn has a reason for keeping her distance: a secret no one knows about. Her survival tactic is to draw a line between herself and other people—one that Stewie is determined to cross. As their visits become more frequent, a complicated but deeply rooted relationship grows. That’s when Stewie discovers how much more there is to Marilyn, to her past, and to challenges that become more pressing each day. But whatever difficult times lie ahead, Stewie learns that although he can’t fix everything for Marilyn or himself, at least he’s no longer alone.
This was such a beautiful book. I smiled and I cried. By the time the book ended, it truly blew me away with the amount of emotions that it left me; warmth with heartbreak followed by healing. I didn’t exactly read the blurb going in nor have I ever read any other book by this author, but I may have discovered another new treasure to add to my ever-growing list of auto-buy authors!
This story revolves around an 11 year old, Stewie Little, a boy who has never known his parents and had been raised by his grandmother with his older brother and sister on a farm, that is until his grandmother, “Gam”, passed away a little while back. Stewie is what some may call a “Highly Sensitive Person” someone who feels things very deeply. As someone who is an HSP, I was immediately floored. I’ve never read a book that has described how I felt so well; happiness is elation, bad things hit hard. Sometimes bad things hit really REALLY hard.
The story is themed around Stewie’s sensitive nature, his struggles with his recent losses, and wanting to fix things wherever he goes. After school, he sells eggs in his neighborhood as a way to both justify not selling Gam’s hens and to help Stacey (his older sister who works night shift) to pay the bills. Just by chance, a few people aren’t home during his usual egg route. It’s at this time, he ventures just a little further to houses he’s never visited and meets Marilyn, a not so nice person, but not unkind either. She’s someone just like his grandmother and it’s the beginning of new friendship. Marilyn continues to be prickly, but with Stewie’s persistence, even she begins to warm up to him.
This book is wonderfully written, full of insightful moments, and is a great coming-of-age read that discusses grief, loss, and death. There are plenty of things that Stewie either learns to overcome or accept in this story, including that everyone has problems, but sometimes you may not be able to help them solve it. With the help of his new-found friend (and later, many other new friends), his sister and brother, and from a wise and very curious psychologist, Stewie begins to see a new side to life and to accept help when it’s offered.
There are a lot of characters in this story and I love most of them, especially the psychologist. Besides grief, there are other themes that this book discusses, including emotions and learning to express them, family, life and aging, death of a loved one, memory loss, as well as the feeling of lost freedom that comes with aging, elder care, nursing homes, bullying, and other important points.
The story was beautiful and heartbreaking, the characters were loving and realistic, and there were so many moments and discussions that were insightful and leaves you thinking. A fantastic read that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon, I’ll be back to check other books by Catherine Ryan Hyde.
“’I just wish you didn’t take everything so hard. For your own sake, I mean. Sometimes I wish I could wave a magic wand over you and fix it so you didn’t have to care about everything so deeply.’
‘What’s wrong with caring?’
‘Nothing’s wrong with it. The thing about caring is you want to have some. You want to care, but in the right measure. Not too little and not too much. If you care too much, then something like this happens and it just makes you so sad.’
‘But then good things happen and they make me extra happy. Besides. If you waved a magic wand over me and made me different, then I wouldn’t be me.’
“‘The reason people are unhappy is because they’re so sure they know what they want. And then it makes them unhappy when they don’t get it. I personally think people would be happier if they weren’t so sure they knew the difference between a good thing and a bad thing.’”
“‘You just have to let them know you’re listening. That you want to hear what they want to say. If they know somebody cares how they feel, they’ll let you know.'”