The Ride


Young Adult - Coming of Age
148 Pages
Reviewed on 01/09/2020
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Author Biography

Nancy Cathers Demme is a retired Children's Librarian. Her short stories, flash fiction and poetry have been published in Confrontation, multiple times in The Kelsey Review and US1, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine and Willard and Maple. She has facilitated the Twin Rivers Writer's Group for 27 years and facilitated the East Windsor Senior Center's writers' group. She teaches adult learners in "Writing in English."

    Book Review

Reviewed by Sandy Masia for Readers' Favorite

Based in 1952, The Ride by Nancy Cathers Demme tells the story of Diego Ramirez, a 15-year-old boy who is running away from his home for unknown reasons. The crux of the book is an exploration of who Diego is, why he has left and what is next for him. We follow as he hitchhikes and meets interesting characters along the way.

The backward storytelling of The Ride is one of its most fascinating features. Nancy Cathers Demme employs eloquent prose, crystalline characterization and motifs to create a work of fiction that is thoroughly engaging, situating and heartrending. The Ride does this from the first page to the last, managing to keep the same tempo and quality throughout. There is something to be appreciated about the characterization of Diego Ramirez; Nancy Cathers Demme knew how to make a character that radiated innocence and drew compassion, despite his many troubling qualities and demons. It is not an easy thing to do, especially when the behavior and subject matter have the potential to alienate the reader.

This book is short, but I found myself taking my time reading it. Overall, this book is simply delicious to read and the more we journey with Diego the more we wish we could do so forever. He isn’t the best company to keep, but there is something calming and charming about spending time with him. The Ride is unforgettable, the story has an eerie memorable quality to it that I find unique. It was a pleasure. I can’t wait for more fiction from Nancy Cathers Demme, a terrific writer.

Heather Osborne

The Ride by Nancy Cathers Demme is a coming of age novel about a young man fleeing from a dark past. After setting the barn alight with his abusive stepfather inside, Diego runs away from home, hitching rides across Texas in the early 1950s as he searches for his real father. Along the way, he meets a flurry of colorful characters, each offering him their own form of advice and guidance as Diego attempts to find absolution in himself for what he perceives to be his many sins, including a hint of pyromania. With each odd job, ranging from farmhand to bar singer, Diego hopes he comes one step closer to finding the man who disappeared one night from his life.

Diego’s journey throughout The Ride by Nancy Cathers Demme is almost heart-wrenching as he escapes from beatings and sexual abuse at the hands of his stepfather. I enjoyed reading about the different people Diego encounters and wondered if he would eventually come across someone who would take advantage of a lone boy hitch-hiking through Texas. His emotions about each new situation were palatable and realistic. There are glimpses of his past life. You could tell he was just on the cusp of adulthood, still grappling with the punches life had thrown at him. I would have liked a bit more substance to the events, especially surrounding the ending, as it feels like it finishes too abruptly. Saying that, this novel has a great deal of potential, and I would definitely read something by this author again.

Edith Wairimu

In Nancy Cathers Demme’s moving novel, The Ride, fifteen-year-old Diego Ramirez flees home. Hoping to put as much distance between him and his home in El Paso, Texas, Diego plans to walk till daybreak then hitchhike from there. Diego’s recollection of all the abuse he has suffered at the hands of his step-father remains sharp in his mind. Now, Diego is on the run having set the barn in which his step-father was in on fire. With only a burlap bag that carries his mother’s life savings and a few of his prized possessions, Diego climbs into a truck which is his first ride. From El Paso to Odessa, Midland, Sweetwater, among other towns, Diego travels, hoping to find redemption from his past and his obsession with fire.

Told through the eyes of the main character, The Ride captures the pain and confusion plaguing Diego. The novel reveals the heart-breaking experiences of victims of physical and sexual abuse and how the painful experiences influence the victim’s perspective and decisions. Feeling trapped with no one to turn to, Diego tries to put an end to the suffering he has continuously endured. The work is made captivating by its eccentric set of supporting characters incorporated into the work through the rides that Diego is offered. The drivers have different personalities and views. Their opinions are contrasted to Diego’s unspoken opinions. The Ride by Nancy Cathers Demme is a poignant novel that follows the main character’s journey through pain, disappointment, fear, and freedom.