Friday, February 10, 2012

Book Review: Songs for the Missing

Sometimes a book review will come around and cause me to actually clip the review and hang on to it until a date when I can secure the book. This was the case for Stewart O'Nan's Songs for the Missing. The reviewer, Bob Minzesheimer, stated that the book kept him up for most of the night. He praised the novel's compelling story and taut, precise prose.

Although I agree with Minzesheimer's positive response to the novel, it wasn't quite as riveting as he described. The book tells the story of Kim Larsen's family and friends as they deal with her sudden disappearance during the summer after her senior year of high school. The shifting of perspectives to reveal more and more about how they were all coping was certainly well-done. After reading about 80 pages, I did feel compelled to finish the novel. However, I found the foul language tiresome and kept waiting for the information to come as to the missing girl's whereabouts and story. It seemed to take forever to finally secure the truth.

The characters were well-drawn, but I didn't like them or the book as much as I had hoped. It feels like I've been selecting books that are just not my style lately. Still, I would have to say this is a worthwhile read. It was interesting to get inside the skin of a family facing such an intense tragedy. I believe the situation was treated realistically and with a gentle touch.

I read once of a technique to hone your writing where you take a book and rewrite it from a different perspective. I think this would be one of those books that I could really sink my teeth into rewriting from a different perspective. It would be interesting to explore how a family of faith would deal with the crisis of a missing child.

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