Monday, November 12, 2012

Home in Time for Dinner - Kathryn Ellis

Title: Home in Time for Dinner
Author: Kathryn Ellis
Publisher: Red Deer Press, 2012 (Paperback)
Length: 184 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Realistic Fiction
Started: November 12, 2012
Finished: November 12, 2012

From the back cover:

What would you do if you saw a picture of a missing person...and it was a photo of you?

Chris Ramsay is living a normal existence in a quiet suburb in Dallas, Texas. He stays alone with his controlling father, in a home with bare walls and no family photos. It's all routine. Tough. Predictable.

Then one evening, Chris turns on the TV. There, before him, is a photo of a kid who was stolen from his mother in Canada thirteen years ago. The eerie, computer-aged face staring back from the TV makes Chris feel like he's looking into a mirror.

Right then, Chris's quiet world is shattered and can never be the same again. He flees Dallas, meting strangers, grabbing opportunities on the fly, and assuming a succession of new identities so his father can't find him.

He's got to get home...

The premise of this book seemed really interesting, plus the author is Canadian, so I decided to give it a go.

The plot is very intriguing. Chris discovers that his controlling father kidnapped him from his mother after a divorce and custody battle. He decides to run away from his Dallas home to Kingston, Ontario where his mother lives (or so he hopes she still does). Chris takes numerous buses across most of the United States before hitchhiking into Canada (after being smuggled across the border with a sympathetic young family), and hanging out with squeegee kids in Toronto before finally reaching his destination.

Since the book takes place in 1992, there's a lot of things that aren't quite realistic if you look at this through a modern point of view. Most kids would contact the authorities (or at least call the number on the 'America's Most Wanted' type show where Chris saw his own photo), or at least seriously consider it. Crossing the border nowadays is not that easy anymore, even little kids need a passport. A lot of his hassles would have been avoided with the use of the internet and other technology.

Even with the past vs. modern comparisons, the book just doesn't really come together in my opinion. All we get is Chris' journey over the course of a little less than a week...I would've loved to see more background to Chris' parents divorce, reconnecting with his mother, and some kind of resolution with his father.

It's an okay story, I wanted to read through to find out about what happened to Chris, but I wasn't really satisfied with it overall.

Thoughts on the cover:
It's okay, not amazing but not horrible.

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