Saturday, August 5, 2023

Just A Regular Boy Book Review


by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Animals in the woods

I recently selected a book from a display of New Fiction by an author I was not familiar with. I chose the book because the story summary on the flap described one of the characters as being a small boy, which appealed to me. It turned out to be a wonderful, and quite unique, story. 

Afterwards, reading about the author, I discovered why I liked her style so much. She is also the author of Pay It Forward, a book that has become a movie and enjoyed world-wide fame. I remember reading Pay it Forward several years ago. If you also read it and liked it, I think you would like her newest publication Just a Regular Boy.  Let me tell you about it here.

Just a Regular Boy Characters

There are two main characters in the story

Small boy in the woods, climbing up a fallen tree
REMY – A little boy who's mother dies and his father becomes convinced that the collapse of society is eminent. To that end, the father sells their house, buys several acres of very isolated land in northern Idaho, lays in a year's supply of food and other necessities, and takes his five-year-old son from all he has ever known in Pocatello, Idaho to live 'off the grid' in the woods. In effect, the father becomes a survivalist and tells Remy that this is their new life. 

Remy can't believe that everything he has known – TV, electricity, indoor plumbing, his best friend Lester – is now gone. Over time, Remy learns to fish to supplement their meager food supply while his dad does the hunting for food. If the fishing and hunting were not successful, you went hungry. A hard lesson for a small boy. The isolation is also very hard, even though his father tries to teach him that 'freedom' is most important when you can no longer trust civilization. 

Two or so years go by in this manner, and then the unthinkable happens: Remy's dad dies of a heart attack. Remy, not even eight-years-old yet, fends for himself until he realizes he is going to have to find some help. Loading some supplies into his dad's old truck, he tries to drive out, maybe hoping to find his friend again in Pocatello. But he is too little to both see out the windshield and reach the pedals. Thus he crashes the truck and breaks his leg. He manages to last until the leg heals, but now his supplies have run out. 

Desperate, Remy sets out on foot to find help, but is uncertain what he will find because he has been taught that civilization may now be a terrible thing. He is very fearful, but knows he will die if he doesn't do something. 

ANNE – A nurturing mother who has fostered several unwanted children and adopted two of them, now teenagers, learns that a near feral, silent, and terrified child has been found. 

She immediately takes him in, even though he has severe medical issues suffered while trying to walk to civilization and will need constant care for several months.  And even though he won't speak and they have no idea who he is or where he came from.  But, Anne knows in her heart he is not a lost cause as everyone else seems to think; just a challenging one. 


As the story continues, Remy slowly adapts to his new foster home, but doesn't trust the world. Anne is still dealing with her own childhood rejections, as are the two adopted teenagers.

Remy's journey into the real world begins as the whole family learns how to navigate the path. Because, all Remy really wanted was to be 'just a regular boy'

A special story of compassion and understanding I truly enjoyed. 

Just A Regular Boy Book Cover

Just a Regular Boy by Catherine Ryan Hyde

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*Just a Regular Boy Book Review written by Wednesday Elf

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. Wow! This sounds very compelling.

    1. I found the story fascinating, Mary Beth. Thanks for your visit to my book review.

  2. Poor little fellow! I guess he truly became a very real survivalist in the truest sense of the word, not just in name or choice. It would be challenging for anyone without a vehicle to find their way out of the wilderness. It sounds like someone found him. I can certainly see how this would be a very touching and endearing book to read. Most likely, not one we would forget quickly. Thank you for the review and recommendation!

    1. It is a very touching story, Sylvestermouse, with a wonderful ending.

  3. Elf, this sounds like a wonderful and engrossing story by a talented writer. I can feel my heart go out to Remy, Anne, her adopted sons and her foster children just as a result of reading your excellent review. Thanks so much for the recommendation!

  4. This sounds like a very good book - Movies or books where kids are concerned, where they are mistreated or suffer is nearly impossible for me to watch - however, you had me hooked on this review from beginning to end. I'm kind of upset at the dad for dragging his child into that situation (lol) - I watch those off-the-grid shows on TV, families with kids, and wowza that is not easy! I loved the movie Pay it Forward so I can imagine the author has done this one equal justice

  5. What a compelling story, I was quite enthralled by your review of this novel and think this is a book I would love to read. Thank you for your review and recommendation


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