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Synopses & Reviews
Riley Martin is a boy whose great curiosity takes him to a place he never imagined and a future that might seem impossible. But impossible is a word that doesn't exist for Riley.
A second grader from El Paso, Texas, he lies in a high hospital bed in the original Shriners Burns Institute in Galveston. He has third-degree burns over 63 percent of his small body and face, the result of his experiment with gasoline from the lawn mower and a match.
But inside that burned body glows a steady spirit.
In this debut novel, set in such an unlikely place, a boy and his parents face the future--his and theirs. Riley's mother has been with him every day since a private plane brought them to Galveston immediately after the accident. His father comes for weekends when he can. The isolated hospital universe, the other children being treated there, Riley's mother's furious grief at her son's disfigurement, and his father's determined support are fictional creations informed by extraordinary knowledge, empathy, and skill.
But it is Riley himself who charms and twists the reader's heart--Riley, a boy so compelling in his innate boyness and buoyancy that his presence transforms the setting, the circumstances, the pain, the loss, even his own expectations.
He is one of those rare beings who embody the human spirit in the act of transcending reality. His story is, above all else, a reward.
Riley Martin, an adventurous, inquisitive seven-year old boy, is the hero of this immensely satisfying novel set in the isolated universe of Galveston’s original Shriners Burns Institute. It’s here that Riley is being treated for third-degree burns over 63 percent of his face and body. It’s here that he and his parents meet the future—his and theirs.
But it’s Riley himself who charms and twists the reader’s heart—Riley, a child so compelling in his innate boyness that his presence transforms the setting, the circumstances, the pain, the loss, even the future.
By the last page, Riley has come to an indisputable understanding of what the rest of his life will be and how he will deal with it. He is one of those very rare beings who embody the human spirit in the act of transcending reality. His story is, above all else, a reward.
About the Author
LEE MERRILL BYRD is the author of My Sister Disappears: Stories and a Novella. She lives in El Paso, Texas, where she and her husband run Cinco Puntos Press, a regional publishing company. They have a daughter and two sons.
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