Wish Me Home

By

Kay Bratt

It’s tough to read about individuals who have struggled throughout their lives but in doing so, I find that I become more empathetic and understanding of the plight of others.   Wish Me Home by Kay Bratt is about Cara Butter and her twin sister Hana who have grown up in the foster care system.  Shuttled from home to home, they found themselves living in filth or standing on the outside looking in at the biological family that was secured to care for them.

The story begins with Cara walking along the interstate when a stray dog begins to follow her.  As we follow Cara on her journey the story begins to unfold.  We learn that Cara is a twin but are not sure what happened to her sister Hana.  We know that Cara is now homeless but we are not sure why.

As Cara proceeds on her trek from Georgia to Key West, where she wants to see Hemingway’s home, we learn about Cara’s childhood.  Cara is touched by the kindness of several strangers and wounded by others, but she has a resilience to keep moving to get to her destination.  Once she arrives in Key West, she realizes that she doesn’t have a plan from there.  Through an act of kindness Cara lands a job at an animal shelter caring for the resident dogs and doing other odd jobs around the house.  She becomes part of a family that has suffered their own losses.

As Cara begins to find happiness, her sister Hana emerges and jeopardizes Cara’s chance at starting fresh.  Cara struggles to help the sister that she loves and to also protect herself from being sucked into the role of saving her sister time and time again.

Wish Me Home tackles tough subjects: homelessness, destitution, depression and growing up without a true support system.  The book also includes acts of kindness.  Although I wondered whether the acts of kindness shared in the book were realistic, when I read that the author had a troubled childhood and faced years of abuse as an adult, I suspected that the kindness depicted reflected her own experiences.

It’s hard to say I enjoyed a book that so clearly described the pain of a young woman’s struggles. Perhaps it is more appropriate to say I appreciated the book for sharing the truths about how good people find themselves in very difficult situations and that sometimes, it only takes a bit of kindness to help them through to a better place.  This book is a good reminder for me to be generous to others – especially those that are facing difficulty.  I hope that Wish Me Home is a good reminder to others to be generous as well.