Bookworm: 'When I Found You' shows power behind love

Kathleen Duncan

Oct. 23, 2013 at 5:23 a.m.

Some people believe one moment can change your whole life. That everything - where we are, who we are, what we will become - can be traced back to one moment. The moment you met one person. The moment you said yes or no. Or even the moment that happened upon you, suddenly and completely transforming everything after it without even a by-your-leave. Sometimes, after all, life just happens.

For Nathan McCann in "When I Found You" by Catherine Ryan Hyde, that moment echoed through him like a scream in a canyon with reverberations that shook him to his core. He felt it that day and every day afterward. He just knew.

McCann woke up one day, grabbed his hunting rifle and headed out into the wild with his dog, Sadie. It was a cold October morning just before the sunrise when Sadie ran away from him. When he found her, she was nosing a pile of leaves covering a little baby boy, just 1 day old, freezing to death under a tree.

That was McCann's moment.

McCann knew that day he wanted to adopt the baby, and the baby was going to be a part of him no matter what. Despite his best efforts, the baby ends up going to his grandmother, who named him Nathan - Nat for short - after the man who saved him.

All McCann asks is that someday he will get to meet the boy. But he never did, until the day the grandmother shows up with a disgruntled Nat and some suitcases on his porch.

McCann and Nat pick up somewhat haphazardly on their lifelong relationship when Nat comes to live with him as a teenager. Nat is full of fury and passion. He tends to clash with McCann, who is introspective and gentle in his old age. Despite many roadblocks, Nathan promises Nat he won't ever give up on him.

I enjoyed "When I Found You" quite a bit. Though the characters are not as developed as one might hope, they are enough to keep you invested in the story. Nat is so lost that you can't help but want to keep reading to see what happens to him. McCann is so steadfast and patient, consistently perfect in his reactions and guidance of Nat that he seems a bit unreal.

Despite that, he is a lovable character because he is someone I think most of us could use in our lives. McCann is someone who always knows what to say if Nat would just hear him.

Ultimately, this book is about a man who is unrelentingly kind and the young boy who was thrust into his life unexpectedly and never left. Over the years, no matter what transpires, whenever someone asks him why he put so much money or time or effort into a young miscreant who isn't related to him, Nathan can't help but be surprised.

"Why the remarkable commitment?"

"Why not?" McCann asked. "What else have I done with my life that's remarkable?"

And what could be more remarkable than helping someone who genuinely needs it, regardless of the satisfaction, outcome or personal reward - just helping someone because you know that everyone needs someone to believe in them, even those who are lost over and over and may never find their way.



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