Monday, November 12, 2012

Julie's Review: The News Where You Are

Summary: From the bestselling author of What Was Lost comes a spirited literary mystery about a television anchorman's search for the truth about the disappearances that surround him. Frank Allcroft, a television news anchor in his hometown (where he reports on hard-hitting events, like the opening of canine gyms for overweight pets), is on the verge of a mid-life crisis. Beneath his famously corny on-screen persona, Frank is haunted by loss: the mysterious hit-and-run that killed his predecessor and friend, Phil, and the ongoing demolition of his architect father's monumental postwar buildings. And then there are the things he can't seem to lose, no matter how hard he tries: his home, for one, on the market for years; and the nagging sense that he will never quite be the son his mother—newly ensconced in an assisted-living center—wanted. As Frank uncovers the shocking truth behind Phil's death, and comes to terms with his domineering father's legacy, it is his beloved young daughter, Mo, who points him toward the future. Funny and touching, The News Where You Are is a moving exploration of what we do and don't leave behind, proving once more that Catherine O'Flynn's writing "shimmers with dark brilliance" (Chicago Tribune).  The News Where You Are is a 2011 Edgar Award Nominee for Best Paperback Original.

Review:  While The News Where You Are is definitely not a fast-paced book, it is an interesting character study. The novel centers around Frank, a local anchor on the news, who is trying to come to terms with a host of changes in his life. Not only is he trying to come to terms with his mentors sudden and mysterious death but also putting his mother in an assisted living home is hanging on his mind. '

There is much to understand about the people in this book. I never really thought that Frank was going through a mid-life crisis but more of a retrospect of his life. I felt like he was trying to figure out how he got to his lot in life by trying to figure out his relationship with his mom and the lack of relationship with his locally famous father. You see his dad was an architect who had a hand in redesigning the buildings/landscape that would shape the town for 30 years until they decide that it needs another makeover and demolish his buildings. I was pleased to read that Frank had a solid marriage to Andrea and had a good relationship with his daughter, Mo. It made the dynamic of the book seem more real and I felt better knowing that Ms. O'Flynn wasn't going to go down that road.

Phil was a guy who was about outward appearances. He could have cared less about his soul or being a good person. Although, he was a good person but he had no idea how to age. He felt he had to stay young to be relevant. He was beginning to feel his age and the pressure of not being able always remember what he was supposed to. Through Phil and Frank we meet, Michael. Phil and Michael grew up together and grew apart but then found each other again later in life. Frank stumbles upon Michael through his death and as he tries to piece his life together to find next of kin.

Maureen, Frank's mother, is an interesting person. You sense that she was never a happy person or if she was at some point there was something that triggered her to become depressed. Frank never seemed to be able to make her happy and it was worse when he tried. Not even his daughter could make her grandmother happy.

Along with Frank's journey there are intersecting mysteries that need to be solved: Phil's mysterious death and Michael's past. If you are looking for a solid novel with interesting characters, then The News Where You Are is for you.

 I have Ms. O'Flynn's first novel What Was Lost: A Novel in my TBR pile and I will be reading it in 2013. She is an author I will keep an eye out for.

Final Take: 3.75/5

Thank you to Henry Holt for my copy of the book.



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