Patrick Guthrie's eight-year-old son needs a heart operation. Braden has an enlarged heart – the same condition that caused the death of Patrick's wife several years ago.
When Patrick returns to his high school classroom after the Thanksgiving vacation, he finds it empty. He and a few other teachers have been let go due to budget cuts.
Patrick is desperate. He has used up all of his financial reserves on his son. And then the child protection agency representative is at his door. He has just a few weeks to pay off the past due rent and utilities and have proof of employment. Otherwise Braden will go to the care of his rich father-in-law, a man who hates Patrick and is probably behind the attempt to take Braden.
To what lengths will Patrick go to make sure he can continue to care for the son he loves so much?
What a wonderful novel of parental love. Patrick is willing to make a fool of himself on the streets of New York City in order to keep custody of his son. He is willing to give of himself to others even when he himself is in such a time of need.
One theme in this novel is that of having a gift but then, because of parental or social pressure, not using that gift. We also see that lives can be changed when touched by the giving spirit of another.
There is no overt Christianity in this book. There is no gospel message. But there is the message of selfless giving and of lives being changed because of it. Lovers of Shakespeare will be delighted by the book, as will those who love Dickens' novella A Christmas Carol.
Scott Abbot is a recognized screen-writer. His credits include feature adaptations earning an Emmy and a Golden Globe.
Amy Maude Swinton has a theater background. This is her first novel.
Howard Books (a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.), 227 pages.
Publisher product page.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.