Thursday, February 28, 2019

In The Spotlight - Book Review of Hit and Run by Dr. Bob Rich

As you all know, we usually dedicate today's segment to phenomenal people doing incredible things to selflessly help others. Today, I wanted to share a book I just recently finished because the main character in this story shows the true results of how the generous acts of one person can impact the life of another simply by showing they care.

Hit and Run starts off with a tragedy. A young 14-year-old man, Chuck, speeds down a street and blows through a crosswalk killing several children and almost killing an 84-year-old woman, Mrs. Kryz. He was drunk, high and carried the attitude that he didn't care who he hurt, including himself. He was arrested and put in jail. Then the most interesting thing happened. Somehow, he was able to communicate with Mrs. Kryz, and he didn't even have to physically be there to do so.

I won't ruin the story for those who haven't read it but the gist of the story is that through this communication, Mrs. Kryz was able to reach this young man in a way no one ever took the time to before. She gave him one thing he wasn't expecting.


Mrs. Kryz was able to break through the very strong and high walls that Chuck had built around

She took the time to figure out where all of his anger stemmed from and why someone so young would want to harm others around him and, most specifically, himself. He didn't seem to care what came out of his mouth, how disrespectful he acted or how harmful his actions were to others. But Mrs. Kryz saw something no one else took time to see.

Through kindness and unconditional love that he'd never experienced before her, Mrs. Kryz was able to break through his tough exterior, reaching down to the promising youth underneath. She discovered the reasons for his self-hatred and negative perspective of the world and helped him see there was good in him. Even his name, Chuck, was representative of the horrible abuse he went through right up to where he was until he committed his crime. When he opened up about his love and concern for his younger brother, Tommy, she knew there was hope. There was love in this young man.

For the next year, Mrs. Kryz did all that was within her power and capability (considering she was an elderly woman who struggled to get around most of the time) to set things on a better path for Chuck (or as Mrs. Kryz deemed him, Charlie) and Tommy. She pleaded to a grieving community that anger and retaliation was not the way to set things right. By allowing others to see Charlie through her eyes, as a very troubled youth who saw the err of his ways and truly wanted to make a difference, the people rallied around these boys to help get them to where they deserved to be. That didn't mean Charlie's actions were forgotten.

He knew and understood what his actions caused and he felt tremendous remorse. And he did everything Mrs. Kryz (who he affectionally called 'Aunt Sylvia) advised him to do. He was never made to do anything she suggested. All she did was guide him, teach him why kindness worked better than anger and that in order to rise above his own troubled past, he had to feel he deserved to be there.

In helping these boys, taking them out of the terrible situation they were in and giving them opportunities to go down a better path, it somehow brought every other person in the community to a different light.

I loved this story very much. I'm usually drawn to thrillers and mysteries but I hold a special place in my heart for stories such as this that elicit hope and bring certain issues to light in such an honest, open and 'real' way. There was no harping on what the boys had gone through. There was no message of 'forgive and forget,' but more 'remember but find a positive way to cope.' And I loved that no matter how low a youth may allow themselves to go, all they are waiting for (whether they realize it or not) is that one person who believes in them and helps them to see they are worthy, wanted and mean something.

We all need an Aunt Sylvia in our lives. Bless her kind, selfless soul to bits.

I have to say, though, every time I picked the book back up, I craved a cup of tea. There were a lot of conversations over tea in this story. It reminded me of my afternoon teas with my grandma. I guess that's part of the comfort for me in the whole story.

Take the time to read Hit and Run. You won't be disappointed.

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