It’s 1965, and life has taken a turn for eighteen-year-old Anton Addison-Rice. Nearly a year after his brother died in a tragic accident, Anton is still wounded—physically and emotionally. Alone for the holidays, he catches a glimpse of his neighbor Edith across the street one evening and realizes that she’s in danger.
Anton is determined to help Edith leave her abusive marriage. Frightened and fifteen years Anton’s senior, Edith is slow to trust. But when she needs a safe place to stay, she lets down her guard, and over the course of ten days an unlikely friendship grows. As Anton falls hopelessly and selflessly in love, Edith fears both her husband finding her and Anton getting hurt. She must disappear without telling anyone where she’s going—even Anton.
If keeping Edith safe means letting her go, Anton will say goodbye forever. Or so he believes. What would happen, though, if one day their paths should cross again?
My Name is Anton by Catherine Ryan Hyde tells the story of a young man as he goes through different phases of his life from 1965 to 2020. Readers are introduced to Anton just as he turns eighteen years old. He is at a difficult point of his life having lost loved ones in a short span of time. Anton also lost his hand and is adjusting to life as an amputee. It is at this point when he meets Edith, a woman in an abused marriage. The two develop an unlikely friendship which ends up shaping their entire lives.
This is a character driven story with a lot of focus being on carefully crafting out the characters. The author did a fantastic job especially with Anton’s character. My heart broke for the young man who had lost so much and still had to learn to adjust to the reality that life and loss go hand in hand. I admired his courage and determination to make hard choices. Readers get to know Edith through Anton. It was interesting to see how Anton’s decisions also shaped Edith’s character and life’s views. There are a number of other characters who stood out to me including Uncle Gregor, Grandma Marion and Jenny.
Being used to plot-driven stories, the story moved slowly and the pacing was a bit off kilter for me. I kept waiting for something to happen, like a twist or something but this wasn’t that kind of story. With time, I became comfortable with the pace and the easy flow of the narrative. Immersing myself in Anton’s world, I soon got lost in the narrative.
This is a story about selfless love. Yes, it would be wrong to just say that it is a love story because the ‘selfless’ bit of it is a major part of the narrative. Other themes such as loss, grief, family, adoption, domestic violence, mental health also come into play. It might seem like there is too much going on but the story spans over 55 years and the themes are perfectly interwoven into Anton’s life story without being overwhelming. This is a story about doing the right thing even if it hurts. It is not a perfect story, despite the MC almost being flawless, but it is memorable.