Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published July 2010 by St. Martin's Press
Read August 2011
What an emotional story this was. After listening to Emma Donoghue's Room, I wanted to read something else along those lines. A story that dealt with how the person coped with the trauma of being abducted and held captive. I'm not sure if I'm ready to read a factual account like Jaycee Dugard's A Stolen Life: A Memoir. But I definitely find the story line fascinating. I really like stories that speak of the resilience of the human spirit.
When I first started reading Still Missing, I was afraid I would have nightmares. Whereas in Room, Ma fell for the "help me with my dog" line, Annie was just doing her job as a realtor by showing the man the house. It made me a bit paranoid; the story was so realistic that I often had to remind myself that it was a fictional story. There are a few twist and turns and even a curve ball I didn't see coming to keep the story moving. When I mentioned on Twitter I was reading Still Missing and another person replied that it was gripping. I definitely agree - this story took hold of me and didn't let me go until the end.
It is interesting that the entire story is basically told while Annie is in her shrink's office. Her doctor never speaks (though there are indications that she does make suggestions to help Annie), but this was a stipulation of Annie's. She had tried the therapy route without much success, but knows she needs to talk to someone. She wants someone to listen and not just bent on "fixing" her. I imagine many survivors feel like this. Who do you talk to? Do you burden your friends and family?
Chevy Stevens does a great job of pulling the reader into the story and painting vivid pictures with her words. I cried when Annie detailed the first few days after her captivity ended and finally being able to know she was free from The Freak. I grew suspicious right along with Annie when not all seemed right with the investigation. Though I was definitely thrown for a loop on how that turned out - never crossed my mind as a possibility.
I'm not sure how I feel about the end. It isn't all tied up in a bow. While I'm fine not having a perfectly normal back-to-her-before-self, there were some open questions. I actually am glad that the author didn't quite fix all of Annie's problems. I don't think it is something anyone ever truly gets over, but there was enough progress towards healing that you can tell Annie will be ok. No, I think my problem was more of where does she go from here. There are hints as to possibilities, but no concrete answers. I wonder if Chevy is planning to revisit Annie in a few years.
Overall this was a wonderful book. It flows really well; you don't realize how much you've read until something interrupts you. And it is a book that you want to read big chunks of at a time. If you are a fan of realistic dramatic fiction then Still Missing needs to be on your to read list.