Monday, June 7, 2010

The first of many people gone missing

I've remarked before that it seems as if my library trips tend to yield books with common themes.

That was proved again last week with what seems a spate of people gone missing books.

I'll start with "Precious" by Sandra Novack.

It caught my eye on the shelf because I've been meaning to see the Oscar-winning film.

This novel and that film, however have nothing in common. (at least, I don't think so. I haven't seen the movie.)

In the summer of 1978, a 10-year-old girl goes missing from a Pennsylvania neighborhood.

Her mom retreats further into her alcohol-fueled isolation.

But the family at the heart of Precious lives down the street. There the missing girl's former best friend Sissy and her sister Eva are struggling to cope with the aftermath of their mother's sudden departure.

Novack reveals much about the workings of a family. The silences. The arguments. What is said, and more tellingly, what is unsaid.

As the returned mom Natalia says, "The thing about memories is that you can pick which ones to hold on to, and which ones to let go of. You can keep the good and leave the bad."

Like most novels that stick with me, this one left me pondering.

Is it truly possible to choose which memories to keep?

Is it easier to have the one you love taken from you or to know they've chosen to leave you?

- Tricia Ambrose

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