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August 9, 2011

A Gripping Tale: Still Missing

Still MissingStill Missing by Chevy Stevens
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published July 2010 by St. Martin's Press
ISBN 9780312595678
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.

August 8, 2011

Video: On my reading list


It's Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme from Book Journey.

Finished reading...
Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Reading this week...

Boyfriend from Hell by E. van Lowe

Forbidden (The Books of Mortals) by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee

Audio Book (new on my reading list):
The HelpThe Help by Kathryn Stockett
Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.