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Publisher's Summary

From the bestselling author of Pay It Forward comes the stunning and emotional story of a young soldier's unthinkable act...and the bonds of a sister and brother's love.

Ruth and her little brother, Aubrey, are just teenagers when their older brother ships off to Iraq. When Joseph returns, uninjured, only three and a half months later, Ruth is happy he is safe but also deeply worried. How can it be that her courageous big brother has been dishonorably discharged for refusing to go out on duty? Aubrey can't believe that his hero doesn't have very good reasons.

Yet as the horrifying details of the incident emerge, Joseph disappears. In their attempts to find him, Ruth and Aubrey discover he has a past far darker than either of them could imagine. But even as they learn more about their brother, important questions remain unanswered - why did he betray his unit, his country, and now his family? Joseph's refusal to speak ignites a fire in young Aubrey that results in a disastrous, and public, act of rebellion.

The impact of Joseph's fateful decision one night in Baghdad will echo for years to come, with his siblings caught between their love for him and the media's engulfing frenzy of judgment. Will their family ever make their way back to each other and find a way to forgive?

©2015 Catherine Ryan Hyde (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Story

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ask him why?

I loved the story and the reading and performance of it. a story of a broken family and growing up believing one thing and finding out things are not what they seemed to be. it is about helping someone , helping yourself and growing up. learning you can love imperfect people because we are all imperfect . also that there are angels among us. loved this book would make a wonder movie . I am a fan for life.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

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An amazing book for the doubtful

This is a beautiful look into the lives of the hurting. Of being saved when you didn't think anyone cared to save you. I very much so enjoyed every moment and it ended in the most important way. Well done Catherine Ryan Hyde. And thank you.

24 of 26 people found this review helpful

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Fabulous!

Great story. Loved the characters. Had the audio version and got so much housework done as I couldn't stop listening! My favorite character was Ruth. I loved the articulation of her observations.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Truely enjoyed, one of the best books and performa

loved it one of the best ever. great performance, made the characters come alive could recommend to anyone

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding story of war, family, & forgiveness.

There are plenty of detailed reviews that describe the storyline, but I would like to emphasize the many ways in which human nature is portrayed. This book IMO, was on par with "The Kite Runner" & other similar books about the complexities of human emotions. Again, outstanding!

22 of 25 people found this review helpful

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well read

The story is emotional, thought provoking. The readers were excellent. I can't say I enjoyed it, because it was about a family in pain, but it was well written and a satisfying story .

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Gillian
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 04-27-17

Ask Me Why...

"Ask Him Why" is just what you'd expect from Catherine Ryan Hyde, only her characters here are more complex and have more in their lives and backgrounds than usual.
Ruth and Aubrey live with not Mom and Dad, but Janet and Brad. It's a world of rules and a distinct lack of warmth, where being rigid is the only way to be, no matter what you feel inside. Don't like the coldness at the dinner table? Stare at the chandelier until you see white spots rather than say anything. When big brother Joseph does the unthinkable, all that is left is emptiness, denial, and a lack of acceptance. And if big brother Joseph can't respond back to you: Cut him out of your life, say the worst things imaginable, maybe even to the press.
This is not literary fiction. There is no complexity of language, no figurative phrasing, the setting is just a setting. But the characters, especially Aubrey, are really well-written, really warm and involved in their own lives, their own devastating mistakes that they must live with.
Amy McFadden gives a solid performance as Ruth at all ages, and Nick Podehl! Well, what can you say about Nick Podehl except that he rocks!
"Ask Him Why" sometimes has a YA feel, but it's for anyone who lives with devastating choices.
And it doesn't hurt when you have the world's best therapist and gorgeous fish to stare at to take your mind off what you've done and what you've become...

37 of 45 people found this review helpful

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  • Susan
  • BOONE, NC, United States
  • 04-05-16

ok book

The narration was totally awesome for this audio book. The characters came to life because of their excellent narration. The book's content was only fair compared to their performance.

18 of 22 people found this review helpful

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As good as it gets.

Well worth the time spent listening nicely illustrating the ruin of expectations to the emotional embrace of acceptance. Of course, the reader is privileged to share the judgment, disgust, and confusion which, so aptly woven through the plot, finally experiences the cleverly hidden emotions existing below the surface. Very well done!

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Ask her why....the distracting, irrelevant details

Didn't get past chapter five due to the irritating, irrelevant details. Based on glowing reviews I was sure I would love this story but found myself too distracted from overuse of details that didn't pertain to the story.

I kept wondering why certain details were included and who in the heck edited this thing! It harkens me back to junior high where our English teacher would have made dozens of red letter comments and strike throughs for such a long-winded attempt at story telling.

I will be returning this one. I'm glad it has meant something to others I felt, like someone once said, "Inside every fat book is a skinny one crying to come out."

Thanks for reading my less-than-glowing review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Heffalump321
  • 08-04-17

less enjoyable than some of her others

I found the terrible Scottish accent very hard to get past. It was sometimes sounding Polish and sometimes Indian! It was less uplifting than other stories I have listened to by the same author.