Humphrey and Me
Young Adult Fiction
5 x 8
Ray Elias is a precocious but withdrawn sixteen-year-old growing up in an affluent suburb of New York in the early sixties. Numbed by the assassination of President Kennedy, Ray chances upon a TV documentary about the most recent presidential election and is drawn to the ebullient senator from Minnesota, Hubert Humphrey, who unsuccessfully challenged John Kennedy for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1960.
With the senator as his newfound hero, Ray fashions a mission for himself: make Humphrey Lyndon Johnson’s running mate in 1964. To the amazement of his friends and cynical father, Humphrey learns of Ray’s plan to lobby the delegates and, impressed with his sincerity and ambition, takes Ray under his wing.
Ray enters college as the senator is elected vice president, but the relationship unravels when Humphrey becomes an ardent public supporter of the Vietnam War, despite his personal belief in the war’s futility. As the tension between them grows and their bond deteriorates, Ray is devastated by his loss of faith in Humphrey. However, he finds consolation for his disappointment in Ruth, a spirited classmate from the other side of the tracks who teaches him understanding and empathy.
As Ray matures to young adulthood he reconnects with Humphrey—who has by now achieved a political revival and is mulling a fresh run at the presidency—and the two reconcile after Humphrey finally acknowledges his breach of Ray’s trust, and Ray forgives his former mentor.
Loosely based on the author’s real-life relationship with Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Humphrey and Me portrays the often highly emotional journey that comes with embracing our heroes, while set against the backdrop of the tempestuous political eras of the 1960s and ’70s.