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Love in the Present Tense (2006)

by Catherine Ryan Hyde

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3591759,235 (3.8)3
For five years Pearl has managed to keep the past from catching up to her and her bright, frail five-year-old son. Life has given her every reason to mistrust people, but circumstances force her to trust her neighbor Mitch with watching Leonard while she goes off to work. Then one day Pearl drops her son off ... and never returns." "They are an unlikely pair: Mitch is a young, unattached business owner, and Leonard is a precocious five-year-old boy. But together they must find a way to move forward in the wake of Pearl's unexplained disappearance. Their bond as parent and child shifts and endures, even as Mitch must eventually surrender Leonard to a two-parent home." "Is it possible to love the people who can't always be there for us? The answers will surprise and move you. As their lives unfold, profound questions emerge about the nature of love and family. Ultimately, this novel's richest reward is watching Mitch and Leonard grow up together, through the power and the magic of the human heart.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
No fillers, no digressions, no long boring descriptions of irrelevant stuff . Brought tears to my eyes. Makes one believe there are good people in the world ( )
  sidiki | Aug 11, 2018 |
About an amazing boy, and his honorary father. About love, and eternity, and intuition. Told from differing perspectives, at different times - very cleverly written. Took a while to get started, but hard to put down by about half-way through. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
This is a really touching, beautiful read that is definitely worth picking up. The story is told from the perspectives of three different characters at different stages in their lives, and it works brilliantly.
The title really does sum up the book, it's all about love, but not in a dodgy romance way, love between family and friends, that closeness and understanding that can only be found in love, and the persistence of that emotion beyond the passing of loved ones.
The book tackles some difficult subjects, and had me in tears a few times as you get so attached to the quirky characters.
I wish it had been longer, more detailed in places, especially with Pearl's story. In one way the simplicity of the story adds to it's charm, in another it feels like you miss out on a lot, especially with the jumping between characters and ages.
4 stars. Would definitely recommend to anyone. ( )
  chimocho | Jul 7, 2015 |
This book surprised me. Ignore the cover. The cover makes it look like one of those awful books on neglected/abused children, that seem so popular with certain people. This is not one of those books.

It's an easy yet quite touching read. Reasonably well written and flits between time and narrator really effortlessly.

I don't think I'll be rushing out to read Catherine Ryan hyde's other works but I certainly wouldn't pass over them if I encountered them. ( )
  ElaineRuss | Sep 23, 2013 |
A story that tells of love in its different guises told by three voices The first is Pearl who at the beginning of the book is a thirteen year old with a drug addict mother who has not known real unconditional love and that is what she is looking for. She is taken home one night when she has no money by a policeman, has sex with him, and accidently shoots him with his own gun. She is sure that she is pregnant as a result of that night and Leonard is the child she has - a lovable character with a serious eye problem that she looks after well for the first five years of his life until her past catches up with her. Leonard's is the second voice. He feels sure that his mother is still with him, she appears to him at times and he believes she will come back.. The third voice is that of Mitch, the man that Pearl leaves Leonard with, on that fateful day when the man from her past comes to take her away. Mitch has his own problems. He is having an affair with the wife of his major client, while the client is trying to set him up with his daughter. Leonard who believes in 'forever love' cannot understand this realtionship. Mitch and Leonard form a beautiful relationship. And through these voices the story proceeds and our questions are answered. Will Mitch be able to keep Leonard or will Pearl come back? What has happened to Pearl? and will Leonard's unconditonal love for his mother last for ever? Will he ever find out what has hapoened to his mother? I enoyed this book, loved the character of Leonard particularly. Well worth a read.
  kiwifortyniner | Mar 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Dedication
In memory of my friend
Jody
a gentle man
whose love is
forever
First words
One night when I was seven I watched a man die.
Quotations
I decided when my number came up someday, I would not beg. I would take my dignity with me. They say you can't take it with you, but mostly about money and cars and such. Dignity, I think you can. And I think you will miss it sorely if you leave it behind. Anyway, we all believe what we want and that's what I believe.
A time like that, you have to make a fast choice, and it's never die/not die. It's always die now/die later.
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For five years Pearl has managed to keep the past from catching up to her and her bright, frail five-year-old son. Life has given her every reason to mistrust people, but circumstances force her to trust her neighbor Mitch with watching Leonard while she goes off to work. Then one day Pearl drops her son off ... and never returns." "They are an unlikely pair: Mitch is a young, unattached business owner, and Leonard is a precocious five-year-old boy. But together they must find a way to move forward in the wake of Pearl's unexplained disappearance. Their bond as parent and child shifts and endures, even as Mitch must eventually surrender Leonard to a two-parent home." "Is it possible to love the people who can't always be there for us? The answers will surprise and move you. As their lives unfold, profound questions emerge about the nature of love and family. Ultimately, this novel's richest reward is watching Mitch and Leonard grow up together, through the power and the magic of the human heart.

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Catherine Ryan Hyde is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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