Synopses & Reviews
From the bestselling author of Pay It Forward comes a moving novel about the bond between a five year old abandoned by his mother and the man who raises him. After accidentally killing a police office five years ago, Pearl has managed to protect her bright, frail young son Leonard from her violent past. Then one day, Pearl drops him off with their neighbor Mitch, and never returns. Mitch is far from the ideal caretaker--hes having an affair with a clients wife--but he and Leonard must find a way to bridge the gap between them as they bond as parent and child.Gritty but big-hearted, Love in the Present Tense is an inspiring story of love and the surprising forms it can take.
For five years Pearl has managed to keep the past from catching up to her and her bright, frail five-year-old son. Then one day Pearl drops her son off with a neighbor--and never returns. As their lives unfold, profound questions emerge about the nature of love and family.
About the Author
Catherine Ryan Hyde is a critically acclaimed novelist and award-winning short story writer. She is the author of more than forty published stories, the story collection Earthquake Weather and the novels Funerals for Horses, Pay it Forward, Electric God, and the new Walter's Purple Heart. The national bestseller Pay It Forward was adapted into a major Warner Brothers feature film starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment ("The Sixth Sense"). Electric God and Walter's Purple Heart are also optioned for film and in development.www.cryanhyde.com
Reading Group Guide
1. If Leonard had been born with good health and perfect vision, to what extent do you feel his life would have been different? Why?
2. Why do you think Pearl places such a value on cleanliness?
3. If you had been in Mitchs position, and didnt believe Leonards assertion that Pearl was still “with him,” would you want to help Leonard face the truth, or would you consider it kinder to allow him that delusion?
4. Do you think Leonards “forever love” is possible in a romantic involvement? Or do you feel that such a totally selfless love is reserved for parental situations or other, more “pure” devotion?
5. Because of the three separate character viewpoints, the reader learns of Pearls fate before Mitch and Leonard do. If you had not seen this through her eyes, what would you have believed?
6. What do you think Leonard is looking for in his scrapes with death?
7. Have you ever felt an ongoing emotional connection with a loved one after his or her death?
8. Mitchs home environment was not ideally stable, but Leonard certainly didnt lack love in Mitchs care. Do you approve of Leonards adoption into a two-parent home?
9. Harry was cast in a fairly negative light through most of the book, as seen through Mitchs eyes. Did you feel any empathy for him and his situation before Mitch did? Why or why not?
10. What do you think Barb means when she says of her long-standing relationship with Mitch, “Maybe its the stress that holds it together” [p. 167]?
11. Why do you think Mitch didnt fight back against Harry in their final meeting? Do you agree with Barb that he didnt feel entitled?
12. Leonard is in search of a last name and an identity through most of the book, but in Mitchs dream, Pearl says, “Leonard knows who he is” [p. 212]. Do you agree with that statement?