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Send Me [Kindle Edition]

Patrick Ryan
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $13.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Patrick Ryan’s first work of fiction is written with such authority, grace, and wisdom, it might be the capstone of a distinguished literary career.

In the Florida of NASA launches, ranch houses, and sudden hurricanes, Teresa Kerrigan, ungrounded by two divorces, tries to hold her life together. But her ex-husbands linger in the background while her four children spin away to their own separate futures, each carrying the baggage of a complex family history. Matt serves as caretaker to the ailing father who abandoned him as a child, while his wild teenage sister, Karen, hides herself in marriage to a born-again salesman. Joe, a perpetual outsider, struggles with a private sibling rivalry that nearly derails him. And then there’s the youngest, Frankie, an endearing, eccentric sci-fi freak who’s been searching since childhood for intelligent life in the universe–and finds it.

Written with wry affection, and with compassion for every character in its pages, Send Me is a wholly original, haunting evocation of family love, loss, and, ultimately, forgiveness.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ryan's debut novel, suffused with an earnestness that might seem cloying were it not for his ease and control, follows Teresa Kerrigan as she struggles to raise four children, two from each of her two failed marriages. The novel covers 30 years from the mid-1960s. By the '70s, the family is in northeast Florida, with NASA launches nearby, and youngest son Frankie can't shake his boyhood obsession with spaceships and science fiction. As an adolescent Frankie happily embraces his belief that he is gay, dreaming wistfully of Luke Skywalker. Next oldest Joe, who narrates some chapters, has a more painful time sorting through his own messy sexuality, while the eldest, Matt, leaves the household at 18 to care for his sick father, and Karen, a high school dropout, marries at 21 and withdraws emotionally from her mother—as each child does in his or her own way. Ryan gets the dreariness and tumult of the Kerrigan lives right, presenting Teresa as flawed but sympathetic, and her brood as reactive in familiar but nicely specified ways. All are compassionately drawn through Joe's articulate bewilderment, particularly the sensitive and surprising Frankie, who comes to dominate Joe's own self-exploration. When AIDS eventually figures into the plot, Ryan maintains this impressive debut's nuance and sweetness to the end. (Feb. 7)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-Teresa Kerrigan never envisioned herself as a twice-divorced mother of four. Somehow, life has conspired against all of her dreams and she is left trying to raise her children in 1970s Florida, surrounded by the Nixon scandals, Apollo launches, and streets of identical ranch houses. Ryan skillfully weaves Teresa's story with those of her children as they try to make it to adulthood intact. Matt, the eldest, barely remembers his father but impulsively goes to live with him at 18. Karen, the only daughter, uses rebellion as a buffer against the dysfunction that permeates the household and openly flouts parental authority. Joe struggles mightily to be the normal and good son, but cannot escape feelings of shame and inadequacy over his homosexuality. And Frankie, the youngest, cloaks himself with myriad eccentricities and uses them as a magnet to draw others into his circle. On the outer perimeter, readers glimpse two ex-husbands and the ways that they ebb and flow in their children's lives. In weaving together the strands that make up the stories of one family over four decades, Ryan does not attempt to tie up loose ends or heal all of the resentments that have built up. But he does paint a powerful picture of dysfunction intertwined with humor, love, and hope. Teens will find much to relate to and may even walk away with a deeper appreciation of the quirkiness of their own families.-Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Library System, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 441 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385338759
  • Publisher: The Dial Press (January 31, 2006)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #998,355 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable debut - remarkable new talent - give us more. February 24, 2006
Last year I read Michael Cunningham's 1995 family saga "Flesh and Blood," and was blown away by it. Little did I expect to come across a book every bit its equal so soon. Author Patrick Ryan, in a brilliant debut, has thoroughly and lovingly drawn each of his characters in a style both bold and original. Not a story collection or a novel, but rather a series of interralated vignettes, "Send Me" is an engrossing and audacious portrait of an American family.

Teresa is the matriarch of a family that consists of Matt and Katherine (her children by Dermot), and Joe and Frankie (her sons by Roy). Both men abandon Teresa and their children while remaining important characters within the continuing narratives. With dysfunction their unifying characteristic, the broken family scatters to various cities across America.

Gay inclusive, with chapters set in and around the FSU campus, Ryan beautifully illustrates a myriad of complex family dynamics and desperate personalities. The interactions between his characters seem drawn from real life, with each scene complete with its own drama and epiphany. I especially liked the chapters dealing with Frankie and Joe. These two younger brothers share a special bond that is well communicated. Theirs is the story that takes place in Tallahassee. Frankie is a genuinely special young man, eccentric, open and extreme. The final story is a gem, the final paragraphs heartrending in their purity.

The author's obvious affection for his characters, his appreciation for the absurd and his use of levity have resulted in a masterpiece of conception and execution. I can't recommend this enough.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
To call this a novel is not really accurate, as it is more a collection of short stories about the members of a uniquely dysfunctional family from a suburban island in Florida. The central focus is on Teresa, the matriarch of the family who tries to hold everything together, with varying results. Her first husband, Dermot, was essentially running away from his powerful Italian-American family in upstate NY, and eventually went back to them, after the birth of Teresa's oldest children, Matt and Katherine. She then was courted and wed by Roger, who worked at the nearby NASA space center, and who became the father of Teresa's other children, Joseph and Frankie, before he leaves her for another woman.

Each chapters focus primarily on one character at a time, be it one of Teresa's two husbands or one of the children, as they grew into teenagers and adulthood. Most colorful of the latter is Frankie, a dreamer obsessed with space travel and aliens as a child, who becomes a gay party boy when attending a Florida university. His older brother Joseph is an introspective, serious boy, outwardly disapproving of Frankie's antics, but secretly envying his "I Am What I Am" bravado as he copes with his own confusion about his sexual orientation. Katherine, who ditches her name earlier and insists on being called Karen, is a teenage rebel who marries at 21, looking for the love she feels she didn't get at home. Oldest son Matt was most affected by the departure of his birth father, and moves to NY at age 18 to become his caretaker.

Although brilliantly conceived and written, the book is not that easy to follow, as the chapters don't follow logically from each other,but rather arranged in the order in which the author wanted to tell the story.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of a family. January 6, 2007
I truly enjoyed this book.

Patrick Ryan uses a family as his cast, which allows him to focus on specific characters for different sections of the work. The result resembles a collection of short stories that often seem unrelated-- though they share common characters. Each chapter chooses different people to focus on, and jumps forward and back in time. In the end, the varying stories all help to illuminate the history of a remarkable family.

In particular, I felt that the chapter entitled "That Daring Young Man," was quite masterful. Not only does Ryan address the complex relationship between two brothers (one who is gay, the other also gay but closeted), but really gets at the desperation and frustration of discovering one's own sexuality. It was unlike any gay "coming-of-age" story I'd ever read-- truly unique.

A unique and thoughtful read. Highly recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegantly crafted April 18, 2006
By Don
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ryan gets right at the heart of a painful truth: families fly apart. And by jumping back and forth in time to tell the story, the starkness of this reality is all the more clear. And what an amazing eye for detail. He's the only person other than my grandmother who would ever describe a mouthy teenage girl as "bold." When I read that, and later when I read his accurate description of a Slip n Slide, I was transported back in time. Great work.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Family in Pieces January 31, 2006
Patrick Ryan has made some bold stylistic choices in composing his first published book and to great effect. It's not a novel, but it is composed of multiple stories which all involve members of the same family. Most focus on a single character. Only three show the entire family together. So you come to know this family very intimately both as individuals and as a group which is something most traditional novels are unable to do when trying to balance diverse members of a single family. Send Me spans from the mid-60s to the near future, but each self-contained story is not arranged chronologically. Instead you hopscotch through time with this family joining them at different points in their lives which are often sadly disconnected from one another. This has the effect of juxtaposing the emotional peaks and valleys of their lives to provide greater insight into each of the characters than if you were to read about their lives from start to finish.

Here we have the wronged mother, the straying father, the rebellious daughter, the precocious boy, and the son with AIDS. All are familiar and recognizable, but none fall into stereotypes. Their life stories are fresh, compelling and unmistakeably their own. Ryan's great ability as a writer is to show real sympathy and respect for each of his complex characters. Some make very questionable choices, but the writer shows through crucial events in their lives how they came to make these decisions. These stories show that the real tragedy is not what they do, but what they fail to do. It's in their vulnerability, their tendency to neglect the family that they should try to form a tighter bond with, that their stories acquire a universal meaning. The way in which the writer chooses to tell only fragments of their stories in a carefully structured form yields many surprises making Send Me an utterly compulsive read. This eloquent, moving, fantastic puzzle of a book is the debut of a brilliant writer.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyed
The opening chapter confused me, now that I think about it I never truly connected it to the story. Glad I continued reading since I found the book to be quirky and an enjoyable... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Linda L
5.0 out of 5 stars Transported
Patrick Ryan wrote this excellent book a few years ago but I think it is even more timely in today's economic crisis. Read more
Published on March 13, 2009 by H Michael
5.0 out of 5 stars Portrait of an American Family
Send Me by Patrick Ryan is the story of a family under duress. The matriarch, Teresa Kerrigan is in over her head. Read more
Published on December 24, 2008 by James Chester
1.0 out of 5 stars Great Potential, Pitiful Result
What showed great potential ended up presenting a pitiful result. From the jacket and the first few chapters you find this is the story of a family over a 30 year period, the novel... Read more
Published on November 4, 2007 by dkmcd
5.0 out of 5 stars A Satisfying Read
Teresa is a flawed parent; two failed marriages, four messed-up children by two fathers, each with issues that run the gamut from closeted homosexuality to alien abduction. Read more
Published on March 8, 2007 by E. R. Allenson
5.0 out of 5 stars Readers liking a tidy ending won't find it here
Sometimes you look at people lives and think to yourself "I wonder what happened to you to make you turn out that way? Read more
Published on April 12, 2006 by J. Fercho
5.0 out of 5 stars Patick Ryan is talented
Patrick Ryan's debut work of fiction is infused with the kind of unique reality only found in Florida. It's a contemporary, funny, poignant, signifigant work. I think it rocks.
Published on April 11, 2006 by Blair Mastbaum
5.0 out of 5 stars A Whirlwind of greatness that I didn't see coming...
Okay so I'm at a bookstore looking around for a new train read and for some reason the cover of this book jumps out at me. Read more
Published on March 21, 2006 by Catapillargirl
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW
This is one of the best most original books i have read in a long time absolutly amazing. I wish I could find the writers web address just to compliment him on an incredible first... Read more
Published on February 12, 2006 by K. Day
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