Title: Songs for the Missing
Author: Stewart O'Nan
Available: October 30th, 2008
Edition Read: Advance Reader Copy: I received the book Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan by participating in the Barnes and Nobles First Look Program, where I got to discuss the book with other pre-readers and also got a chance to interact with the author himself. What an opportunity!
Best Read For: Personal reading, book club reading, great for discussions
In a nutshell: Stuart O'Nan has written a fictional book that reads like non-fiction in that it explores the events and emotions experienced by friends, family, neighbors and volunteers as the search for a missing girl progresses, providing the reader with great insight into what experiences might be like surrounding a missing person. I found myself viewing events going on around me a little differently after reading this book, giving a little more thought to what the friends and family of news stories are experiencing.
Synopsis from Barnes & Noble's Website:
An enthralling portrait of one family in the aftermath of a daughter’s disappearance. “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.
Stewart O’Nan’s new novel begins with the suspense and pacing of a thriller and soon deepens into an affecting family drama of loss. On the heels of his critically acclaimed and nationally bestselling Last Night at the Lobster, Songs for the Missing is an honest, heartfelt account of one family’s attempt to find their child. With a soulful empathy for these ordinary heroes, O’Nan draws us into the world of this small Midwestern town and allows us to feel a part of this family.
My point of view:
A fictional book that seems like a non-fiction documentary. My attention was caught after reading the first chapter - I had to know what happened next! This is the heartwrenching story of a young girl about ready to leave the high school and town she has known all her life to begin her next journey in college, who vanishes.
Stewart O'Nan has done a wonderful job of engaging readers so they can gain some insight into what happens when a family member or friend goes missing. He delves into what thoughts go through peoples minds, what processes are followed and why, and the emotional changes taking place in everyones lives, from the younger sister, father, mother, boyfriend, best friend, neighbors, media, etc.
Prior to reading this book, I had never really considered just what a family goes through when a member goes missing - this book does a great job of filling in the blanks (speaking as someone who has never gone through a situation like this).
This is a thought provoking book that would make a good book club read.