Ask Him Why by Catherine Ryan Hyde

I picked up Ask Him Why by Catherine Ryan Hyde on Kindle for $2.  The story hook struck me as interesting and the cost was low risk. But then I added the audible version for $2 as well so I ended up listening to it on the daily commute.

It turned out to be an entertaining and well done story.  I really enjoyed the different voices and perspectives.  It ends up feeling like an old fashioned radio drama where the voices add to the depth of the story.

Hyde does a great job of allowing the impact of the family tension play itself out as the story progresses.  As the family members tell the story from their perspective you begin to understand how the family dynamic (don’t ask questions, don’t cause trouble, financial pressure, etc.) has shaped relationships and habits.

The story also highlights how decisions and assumptions made under pressure can change relationships and impact one’s future path.  Years later you look back and begin to see patterns and choices and how they led you to where you are today.

You come away with an appreciation for the fact that how you react to emotions and circumstances can have lasting impact and shape your character.  Aubry’s anger issue are particularly well done, in my opinion.

There is a thread you might call anti-war or anti-war-on-terror at least.  The choice Joseph made, and his rationale for it, have clear political undertones. And the action of the media also play a prominent role.  Some might find it powerfully correct while others might find it offensive. I found it neither; an interesting perspective but an oversimplification at the same time.

But that is really a small part of the story. The family dynamics and differing perspectives on the same events is what drives the story.

All in all I found it an engaging and thought-provoking story. Whether you want to read it or listen to it, I think it would be worth your time.

Asky Him Why Book Cover Asky Him Why
Catherine Ryan Hyde
Lake Union Publishing
Audio Book

From the bestselling author of Pay It Forward comes the stunning and emotional story of a young soldier's unthinkable act...and the bonds of a sister and brother's love.

Ruth and her little brother, Aubrey, are just teenagers when their older brother ships off to Iraq. When Joseph returns, uninjured, only three and a half months later, Ruth is happy he is safe but also deeply worried. How can it be that her courageous big brother has been dishonorably discharged for refusing to go out on duty? Aubrey can't believe that his hero doesn't have very good reasons.

Yet as the horrifying details of the incident emerge, Joseph disappears. In their attempts to find him, Ruth and Aubrey discover he has a past far darker than either of them could imagine. But even as they learn more about their brother, important questions remain unanswered - why did he betray his unit, his country, and now his family? Joseph's refusal to speak ignites a fire in young Aubrey that results in a disastrous, and public, act of rebellion.

The impact of Joseph's fateful decision one night in Baghdad will echo for years to come, with his siblings caught between their love for him and the media's engulfing frenzy of judgment. Will their family ever make their way back to each other and find a way to forgive?

About the author

Kevin Holtsberry

I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season - oh, and watching golf too).

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