Monday, August 23, 2010

My Abandonment

I’ve been on a run of adult books lately. As opposed to books for kids that I read for my job but secretly liked better for a while there. I’ll start with My Abandonment by Peter Rock since I guess it’s stuck with me the most. It reminded me of Asta in the Wings, a book I read a while ago and which you can read about here. The story is about a father and daughter who live an isolated life in a city park, and is based on true events that happened in Oregon. They get food from the city, but also spend and live most of their lives in nature. When I first read about this book for some reason it seemed like it would be fun and maybe whimsical. But, just like Asta in the Wings, I was surprised by its seriousness and thinly veiled wrongness. The story takes place in the perspective of the 13 year old girl who has spent much of her life with her father. She hints at the time she spent in a foster home, and it is only revealed very late in the book the full story of how she came to live with her father. The story goes along smoothly and interestingly, as we learn about how they get caught in the woods, but the press and city takes pity on them and takes care of them. The book relies on the narrator to show the reader that these two characters are actually quite grounded and normal, despite living an alternative lifestyle. That is until you get to the hum-dinger of a surprise on page 177. At this point I was totally floored and had to finish. I don’t want to give anything away, but it is a disturbing, quietly distressing book that is nonetheless touching.

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