Lost And Found
Seven teams embark on a race around the world in search of clues that will lead them to a million dollar prize for the winning team. Sound like the latest episode of "The Amazing Race"? Nope...and yes --- a little.
LOST AND FOUND is the latest novel from Carolyn Parkhurst, the author of THE DOGS OF BABEL, and it's also the name of the reality show in which the characters in this new book compete. Laura and Cassie are the strained mother and daughter harboring a mighty secret. Juliet and Dallas are the former child stars who only want to reclaim the spotlight; Juliet schemes her way to more screen time, while dimwitted Dallas barely registers anything. Carl and Jeff are the divorced brothers; one silly, one serious, each embarking on this adventure for very different reasons. Justin and Abby are the rigid Christians trying desperately to deny their innermost sexual urges and stay on the righteous path. Abby is meek and tempted. She still thinks about women and chastises herself for her weakness, as does her pious husband, despite the fact that he ends up succumbing to those urges.
Each character is not only struggling with the arduous race but also with their own demons, which weigh them down far more than the overstuffed backpacks and found objects they must cart around. The novel also examines the impact of reality television and just how much of it is actually "real." Our world has been reduced to whose life is more "TV-friendly" or who can give the perfect sound-bite. Throughout the taxing, harrowing adventure, some characters change irrevocably; some stay exactly the same.
The most compelling of the teams are Laura and Cassie, the mother and daughter who are each coming to grips with recent upheaval in their lives, and Justin and Abby, the "ex-gay" Christians determined to turn their back on their old "sinful" ways. Abby refers to her marriage as a sort of "staring contest, I think, or a game of chicken: I'll do it if you will."
Parkhurst's debut novel, THE DOGS OF BABEL, was a thoughtful, touching examination of grief and its many forms. LOST AND FOUND is an engaging summer read, but it doesn't have the weight of THE DOGS OF BABEL and seems to be like a stone skipping over a pond in comparison --- lightly touching down on interesting topics but never really going below the surface. As Cassie herself notes, "Maybe I have found something, but it's not anything that fits neatly into a little sound-bite answer. Maybe it's going to take me a while to even figure out what it is."
Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller on July 3, 2007
Lost And Found
- Publication Date: July 3, 2007
- Genres: Fiction
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Back Bay Books
- ISBN-10: 0316066397
- ISBN-13: 9780316066396