Monday, May 13, 2013

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

Book:  If You Find Me
Author:  Emily Murdoch
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Date:  Now available
Source:  Publisher via Netgalley
My grade:  A+

There are some things you can’t leave behind…
A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.

Initial reaction
I’m not sure any review can adequately sum up this novel.

Cover story
While the title and cover are perfect for this novel, I’m not sure that anything so trite should matter when it comes to this book.

What’s the story?
How to do justice for this book with one of my silly reviews???  I don’t know if I can, actually.  I struggled first of all with a grade.  How can I give an A+ to such a horrifying novel?  But how could I give it any less?  This is one of those books that is so powerful and, dare I say it, life-changing that it feels wrong to give it a grade.  But because of that very thing, it deserves nothing less than the highest grade possible.

First, I need to warn you, that this is not a book to be picked up lightly.  This story was heart-wrenching at the very least.  This book will make you both rejoice in the resilience of the human spirit and weep at the atrocities that humans are capable of committing.  This is a book that will haunt me for years…..

I grew to love Carey and Nessa so, so much.  As a mother, I just wanted to grab them up, hug them and never let them go again.  I wanted to show them that people could be kind and good to them and shower them in all sorts of wonderful, good things.  It broke my heart as a reader and as a mother that I couldn’t do that.  It was all the more horrifying for me as I discovered more and more about just how terrible their ordeal really had been.  (I also wanted to make my own 15 year old sit down and read this so that she could understand just how lucky she is to have a wonderful family and home, but that’s a whole other story…)

The descriptions in this book of Carey and Nessa’s life in the woods are so realistic that it is disconcerting.  The narrative is gritty and raw and doesn’t really cover up any of the ugliness they endured.  I felt as if I could even smell what their life was like.  It was amazing, actually, that Emily Murdoch was able to so realistically describe this world that the girls lived in.  Amazing and horrifying…..

I can’t really say that this is a book that anyone will enjoy, because if you enjoy it, you probably need therapy.  However, it is a book that will resound with readers because of its intensity and its honest brutality.  And in the end, it is a book full of hope in the ability of the human spirit to survive under the most horrific of circumstances.  This is a book that will leave you a changed person.

The soundtrack
This may be the hardest soundtrack I’ve ever made…..

Full of Grace by Sarah MacLachlan

Deliver Me by Sarah Brightman

Bad Wisdom by Suzanne Vega

Honestly Okay by Dido

This Is to Mother You by Sinead O’Connor

Fire on Babylon by Sinead O’Connor

The final grade
My final grade for this book is an A+.  This book will touch you deeply and profoundly.

1 comment:

  1. This book really spoke to me when I read it. Great review :)

    Paige @ Comfort Books