Just a Regular Boy by Catherine Ryan Hyde- A book review
A five-year-old boy, Remy is taken away by his ‘Survivalist’ father to live in the wilderness, as he feels that it is the only place where they would have freedom. He manages to convince his little boy that people in uniform are not to be trusted. The boy struggles in the cold, hunger, loneliness, and battles injuries. He loses track of time too. There he lives from ages five to nine without talking to anyone and surviving on the bare minimum, till his need for survival makes him come close to the town, particularly after his father’s demise. He is termed as a wolf boy and a wild animal till he is placed in the foster home of Anne and Chris who have their own backstory for what makes them foster on a regular basis. The book is a story of how he blends back into society and start trusting it again despite the world having its own challenges like the aftermath of the pandemic, rampant shooting in schools, and other challenges.
The underlying theme of the book is fear and how “human beings cope and learn to live with their eyes open, see the world as it is and make a conscious choice to be a part of it”
My favourite part of the book was when Remy asks Anne alluding to his father, ” If I know he was wrong, and I know what he did was a bad thing for me, does that mean I’m not supposed to love him and be sad he died?”
I felt that line holds true for most human races when we love and hate in equal parts.
While the premise of the story was extremely good, I was a tad disappointed in its handling by the author who I admire a lot, having read many of her books. Considering the little boy’s trauma for four years of his life, his transition from a wild boy to a ‘regular boy’ was too smooth to render it interesting or true. There wasn’t much conflict from the time he is taken in by Anne which makes it too fictional and unrealistic. It was also ‘dialogue-heavy’ and I felt it was moralizing and pontifying in places- particularly the words coming out of the therapist.
My rating despite the novel idea- 3.5/5