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When You Were Older by Catherine Ryan Hyde
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When You Were Older (edition 2012)

by Catherine Ryan Hyde

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333329,500 (3.96)None
Member:kehs
Title:When You Were Older
Authors:Catherine Ryan Hyde
Info:Doubleday (2012), Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:vine harvest, freebie, april 12, 2012

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When You Were Older by Catherine Ryan Hyde

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Russell is late leaving for work when a phone call tells of his mother's death. He must go home immediately to look after his brain damaged older brother, Ben.

Russell's lateness means he was not at work in one of the towers destroyed on 9/11. It takes him several days to get home due to transport disruptions.

Ben is unable to comprehend the loss of his mother. He has frequent meltdowns and Russell is ill-equipped to deal with him.

This is a very moving story of how life unfolds for the two brothers. Recommended. ( )
  SusieH5 | Apr 27, 2013 |
I loved this book. It gripped me from the opening pages and I didn't want to put it down. The two main characters are brothers, Russell and Ben, who have been apart for several years but are re-united when circumstances intervene. We hear how as the terrible tragedy of 9/11 unfolds a phone call is made that saves the life of Russell. This leads him to having to return to his home town and take on the care of his brain damaged brother Ben. As the two brothers rekindle their bonds Russell discovers love with a girl of a different nationality to himself, this leads to encounters with ugly prejudices. The author gets across the vast difference between patriotism and racism and both themes are explored in an intelligent and expressive style. This novel covers love, loss, racism, patriotism and loyalty in a thought provoking manner. A fabulous read that I highly recommend. ( )
  kehs | May 16, 2012 |
For Russell Ammiano, life is relatively good. He comes from a small town in Kansas, but is flourishing in his career and loves New York City.

One day, in the usual rush to arrive at work on time, his house phone rings and Russell toys with the idea of letting the answer machine take the call. However, on this morning he feels compelled to pick up. It is bad news from his former neighbour. His mother has passed away unexpectedly and the neighbour is struggling to care for Ben, Russell’s elder brother. Ben is brain injured and autistic and this is no ordinary morning…it is September 11th 2001.
From his apartment, Russell watches the planes hit the World Trade Centre and realises that, without this twist of fate, he would have been on one of the upper floors.

Of course, there are no flights out of New York, so Russell has to hitch to Kansas, where it becomes obvious that caring for his vulnerable brother is no mean feat. Add to that his growing relationship with a charming Egyptian Muslim woman who runs a local bakery, his life has “turned on a dime.”

Catherine Ryan Hyde handles this story really well. She manages to weave the backdrop of 9/11, the perception and mistrust of the Muslim community following the atrocity and the obvious challenges of caring for a learning disabled person without being over emotional or clichéd.

Having been in Egypt on 9/11, I am aware of the strain and shame many Muslims felt at that time. Being the mother of a learning disabled woman, I could also relate to Russell’s dilemma and his need to “do the right thing” for his brother and how others treat him.

I highly recommend this novel ……..it would make a great book club read.

This book was made available to me, prior to publication, for an honest review. ( )
2 vote teresa1953 | Jan 23, 2012 |
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It's New York, September 11th, 2001. Russell Ammiano is rushing to work when he gets a phone call that saves his life. As the city he loves is hit by unimaginable tragedy, Russell must turn his back and hurry home to Kansas.

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