Sunday, April 20, 2008
CHASING WINDMILLS by Catherine Ryan Hyde
They met late one night on the subway. They exchanged glances and shy smiles, and finally they began to talk.
Seventeen year old Sebastian sneaks out at night. His domineering father home-schools him, makes decisions for him, and keeps an eye on him every minute of every day. Sebastian knows that only the nights are his after his father takes his sleeping pill.
Maria is a young mother of two, living with an abusive boyfriend. She is riding the subway because she is too afraid to admit to Carl that she has lost her job. She knows it can't go on forever, but once she meets Sebastian it becomes impossible to imagine life without him.
Once Sebastian begins to see the real world, he begins to question how his father has raised him. His only friend, an old woman living in a neighboring apartment, gives him the love his father never shows. With her encouragement he makes a plan to escape from his father and take Maria with him. He contacts the maternal grandmother he barely remembers and learns his father has not just sheltered him, but also lied to him. His mother didn't die. She is alive and well in the Mojave Desert where he is welcome anytime.
Author Catherine Ryan Hyde tells the story of Sebastian and Maria in altering chapters. The fear and pain of their loveless lives scream from the pages. I found myself feeling the absence of one when the chapter I was reading focused on the other. Even though CHASING WINDMILLS somewhat parallels several famous love stories of the past, it has its own unique voice and interpretation. It will most certainly touch your heart.