…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*.
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