Friday, May 30, 2008

Julie's Review: Songs for the Missing

Summary: "It was the summer of her Chevette, of J.P. and letting her hair grow." It was also the summer when, without warning, popular high school student Kim Larsen disappeared from her small Midwestern town. Her loving parents, her introverted sister, her friends and boyfriend must now do everything they can to find her. As desperate search parties give way to pleading television appearances, and private investigations yield to personal revelations, we see one town's intimate struggle to maintain hope and, finally, to live with the unknown. ~book jacket

Review: I received Songs for the Missing: A Novelfrom Barnes and Noble First Look club and am very glad that I requested the book. I had never heard of Stuart O'Nan before and quite enjoyed his story telling abilities. The book centers on a family in the Midwest who's eldest daughter, Kim goes missing. The story unfolds through the eyes of Fran (her mom), Ed (her dad), Lindsey (her younger sister)and a group of her friends. Each character gives their views at different points in the book which is interesting. What I enjoyed about the book is that while the story unfolds over 3 years, it doesn't drag. Mr. O'Nan does a good job of skipping over time but not in a way that makes you think something is missing from the story.

As a parent I can't imagine the horror of going through this tragedy/event. How do you recover? Do you ever give up? Could you ever give up? At one point do you have to move on for your own sanity? These were the questions that were going through my mind while reading the book. I could see why each of the characters reacted and interacted the way they did. It was also refreshing to see the parents stay together during and after this family misfortune. I enjoyed the way Lindsey came into her own towards the end of the book.

There is a discussion thread on for the book and there are a several things I want to find out from the author. One is why did he decided to end the book the way he did? Did he think of ending it a different way? What kind of research did her do on the subject of Missing and Exploited Children? Does he have personal experience with this subject?

A couple complaints is that the book seemed to wrap up to quickly and the book jacket says something about the use of private detectives and yet there is only a brief sentence about the use of one. The ending of the book makes you wonder how the story goes on.

If you enjoy books about family and modern storytelling, Songs for the Missing: A Novel is a book for you.

Final Take: 4.0/5


Amy June 12, 2008 at 10:28 PM  

I thought this book was fantastic.

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