The book Have You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde showed up my recommended book list on Audible and I decided to give it a try. As much as I love historical fiction, I often need a little break from it. This sounded lighter and just what I needed.
I loved the book..but I can’t say it was “lighter”. I wasn’t hooked immediately. It took a few chapters but then I fell in love with the main character, Raymond, and I was “ear to the Audible” the rest of the way. The book was a story about prejudice and done wonderfully in a way that I think will touch every reader. I highly recommend this a book club book as it offers much to discuss and talk about.
Here’s what Amazon has to say:“Raymond Jaffe feels like he doesn’t belong. Not with his mother’s new family. Not as a weekend guest with his father and his father’s wife. Not at school, where he’s an outcast. After his best friend moves away, Raymond has only two real connections: to the feral cat he’s tamed and to a blind ninety-two-year-old woman in his building who’s introduced herself with a curious question: Have you seen Luis Velez?
Mildred Gutermann, a German Jew who narrowly escaped the Holocaust, has been alone since her caretaker disappeared. She turns to Raymond for help, and as he tries to track Luis down, a deep and unexpected friendship blossoms between the two.
Despondent at the loss of Luis, Mildred isolates herself further from a neighborhood devolving into bigotry and fear. Determined not to let her give up, Raymond helps her see that for every terrible act the world delivers, there is a mirror image of deep kindness, and Mildred helps Raymond see that there’s hope if you have someone to hold on to.”
Amazon readers give the book 4.7 stars. I would agree. I read one Amazon review that suggested the author included too many controversial topics for one book. I disagree. People are multifaceted and have more than one way to define themselves. I think that the book pulls everything together in a wonderful way helping us see how history and things that touch our lives as a child live on and stay with us even in old age.
I have good news for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. The book is currently available for free if you have that subscription. You can find the book HERE. If you don’t, I think the book was $5.99 on Amazon. I noticed that many of the authors other books are also free with Kindle Unlimited.