Songs for the Missing

…by Stewart O’Nan.

A story about a teenager who goes missing in a small town and the trauma that it brings about in her family. A story of a quest for a missing person that lasts for years before it comes to end. Kim Larsen works at a local store during the summer after her high school graduation. Apart from working and hanging out with her friends and boyfriend, she is also preparing to go to college starting fall. One fine day, after spending some time with her younger sister, she gets ready to go meet her friends and then to go to work from there before heading home at night…but instead never returns. She goes missing into thin air…and the family, friends and community start searching for her.

The story lays out the events that take place leading to Kim going missing as well as what happens after. Everything from what the police does to how the community pulls together to offer all the help, from how the family shatters to bits to what the friends do to help, how Kim’s parents and sister cope with the loss to till when the hope to find her lasts.

The story started out very fast paced but lost the grip towards the end. Personally, it wasn’t as emotionally excruciating as I would’ve expected a story like this to be. The book does not delve a lot into solving the mystery of the missing person, but rather concentrates on how the characters – parents, sister, best friend, and boyfriend – deal the loss in their own way, which to me translated that it should be strong on the emotional end, but it wasn’t that intense. Although the author lays out the emotional struggle that each and every one associated with Kim goes through, it didn’t quite strike a chord for the most part.

The author’s writing style is simple and precise. His narration of all the characters and their feelings is clever. The pace was quick in the beginning of the story, but started to slow down towards the end, with some unwarranted details and unanswered questions.

Overall, this novel was an easy and realistic read as to how life goes on no matter what. I would recommend it – but just keep in mind that the story is not about solving the mystery of the missing person, but how it affects the lives of those involved.

My rating: 3*.

*for the rating scale, click here.

Feb’10 Reader’s Choice Book of the Month is…

Buddha, the story of enlightenment by Deepak Chopra.

We received equal number of votes for Buddha and The Good Earth. So we are going to be reading one in February and the other in March.

What are you waiting for now? Get going :)…read the book sometime before the 25th of February so we can take the last few days of the month to come back here and discuss.

Happy reading everyone! Enjoy!

-Team BWB.

Front Cover Friday – 2

The Writing Class caught my eye some months ago as I was perusing through my local book store. The attractive and yet, simple cover appealed to me. It may have had to do with my love for writing and my love for stationery. I found this cover to be a very unique way of presenting the characters in the book (i.e. those undertaking the writing class) as well as at the same time, managing to convey the setting. And I’m sure we can all tell based on the different pens that represent each character, just how different these characters are. And have you all made your assumptions about these characters like I have?? :)

Anyway, I haven’t yet read this book. But it’s still on my to-read list.

The book is a whodunnit and is about a murder. At the same time, it is also humourous. I guess you could think of it as those black comedy movie genres.

A review by Deborah Oakes on Associated Content had this to say about the book:

This class of wannabes is rich with characters and what takes place among them is ingenious. There are students in the class to actually learn to write, some to meet the opposite sex, a doctor, lawyer, one student who worships Amy and other assorted individuals.

What Jincy Willet does with this canvas is hysterical. I don’t think I have enjoyed fiction writing so much. It was particularly interesting because the story is told from several points of view. One narrator you don’t know until the end who it is but it adds interest. Jincy never lost me with this part of the plot in her fiction novel.

Once the murder mystery started though, I didn’t enjoy the book as much. Imagine my disappointment because I didn’t find the novel nearly as entertaining after that. I felt the material was great without murder and I wanted it to continue. I will say this though, the murder mystery is good and kept me guessing. I felt drawn right into the action of it.

It looks like a light read and I still intend on buying it despite the review saying the murder bit was a disappointment. Who knows? I might just stumble upon another favourite author?