Living alone with his overbearing father in Texas has been rough for Chris Ramsey. He never feels like he is good enough in his father’s eyes. After failing to make his high school’s baseball team, Chris is at one of the lowest points in his life. When he turns on the television to try to forget about his bad day, he sees something totally unexpected–an age-progressed photo of a missing boy from Canada who looks exactly like Chris does now. Convinced that he is that missing child, Chris devises a plan to get to Canada to become reunited with his mother whom he believed was deceased. Home in Time for Dinner by Kathryn Ellis is the story of Chris Ramsey’s experiences.
Told in the first person narrative, Home in Time for Dinner lets the reader share Chris’ experiences firsthand. His teenage insecurities and rash decision-making are prominently featured. However, his cleverness, independence, and ability to adapt to new situations are demonstrated throughout the story as well. Traveling alone to a foreign country, with limited money and resources, forces Chris to learn survival skills. It also teaches him about being cautious around strangers because one can never truly know the motivations behind other people’s behaviors.
While reading this book, I found myself rooting for Chris to find whatever it was he was searching for in his young life. Whether it was a sense of belonging, a feeling of completeness, or even just wanting to know the truth about his past, I hoped his journey would be fulfilled. The gradual buildup as Chris drew nearer to his final destination left me with great anticipation to see how things would fall into place. However, I found the ending to be a little flat and underwhelming. There were too many questions left unanswered.
Home in Time for Dinner is a fictional story that is appropriate for readers aged twelve and older. While adults will enjoy the story, younger readers will more likely get more out of it because they will be more inclined to read it at face value. They will relate well to Chris because he is one of their peers. They also don’t have the life experiences that adults have and will therefore be less critical of some of Chris’ actions, such as setting off on his own and not letting the police help him find his mother.
(Reviewed by Leslie Granier for Reader Views)