Naomi is known as the “child finder” because she specializes in locating missing children. She has a connection with those children, because she was once a lost child herself. The time before she was found is a blank, though – completely wiped clean of trauma. Only now, she’s investigating the case of a girl lost three years ago in the Oregon mountains, and the particulars of the case are sparking her memory.
What this book is: an exploration of the psychology of a lost and abused child, both during and after their captivity. It’s gruesome and detailed, and involves things such as child sexual abuse, so be forewarned if that’s triggering for you.
What this book isn’t: clear-cut. Not every question has an answer. Not every connection has logic behind it. Not every bad person is fully bad, or good person fully good. Not every missing child is found alive, and not every missing child found alive is whole again afterwards.
My personal feelings: While this was a very, very good book, I regret reading it in some ways. Every day I’m bombarded with stories about the horrors going on in our country and around the world. To read more gruesome tales – even ones tempered by survival and the creative dissociations of a child – made me feel awful. I get it – these kinds of tales are awful, necessarily so if they’re to be realistic at all. Right now, though, I guess I don’t feel like I need more realism. I don’t need to feel any more hopeless than I already do. It was the right book, read at the wrong time, if that makes sense.
I wouldn’t want to turn anyone away from it. It was an excellent book. I wish I could elaborate more on what made it particularly excellent, but to do so would involve major spoilers. In the general, it goes back to my “what this book isn’t” section. There’s so much ambiguity and morally-grey territory, no quick fixes or easy answers. That’s what makes it so good. But it’s also what makes it so grim, so if you’re feeling like me about the world right now – hopeless and particularly vulnerable – perhaps this is one to wait until sometime in the future.