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Songs for the Missing | [Stewart O'Nan]

Songs for the Missing

It was the summer of her Chevette, of J.P. and letting her hair grow. It was also the summer when, without warning, popular high school student Kim Larsen disappeared from her small midwestern town. Her loving parents, her introverted sister, her friends and boyfriend must now do everything they can to find her. As desperate search parties give way to pleading television appearances, and private investigations yield to personal revelations, we see one town's intimate struggle to maintain hope.
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Publisher's Summary

It was the summer of her Chevette, of J.P. and letting her hair grow. It was also the summer when, without warning, popular high school student Kim Larsen disappeared from her small midwestern town. Her loving parents, her introverted sister, her friends and boyfriend must now do everything they can to find her.

As desperate search parties give way to pleading television appearances, and private investigations yield to personal revelations, we see one town's intimate struggle to maintain hope and, finally, to live with the unknown.

Stewart O'Nan's new work begins with the suspense and pacing of a thriller and soon deepens into an affecting family drama of loss. On the heels of his critically acclaimed and nationally best-selling Last Night at the Lobster, Songs for the Missing is an honest, heartfelt account of one family's attempt to find their child. With a soulful empathy for these ordinary heroes, O'Nan draws us into the world of this small American town and allows us to feel a part of this family.

©2008 Stewart O'Nan; (P)2008 Penguin Audiobooks

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3.7 (28 )
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  •  
    Terri L Great Mills, MD, USA 03-03-09
    Terri L Great Mills, MD, USA 03-03-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
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    8
    4
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    "Long...Drawn Out and Boring!"

    Very long ..very drawn out with zero supsense..and the bottom line very boring. Waste of time and money. Would not recommend it.

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carla Riddle, OR, United States 10-26-10
    Carla Riddle, OR, United States 10-26-10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    55
    2
    Overall
    "Boring Boring Boring"

    The book itself may have been a good read but the naration on this one did not make you feel the story. I did not feel that you got to know the characters. The depth of the emotion a mother, father or sibling would feel when a child is missing did not feel authentic to me. Some books are better read and I think this may be one. I have read other O'Nan books and would try another but plan to stear clear of this narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Holly Helscher Cincinnati 05-04-09
    Holly Helscher Cincinnati 05-04-09 Member Since 2008

    Holly

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ratings
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    173
    98
    FOLLOWERS
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    99
    7
    Overall
    "A Family Forever Changed"

    Kim Larsen goes missing the summer before she goes away to college. What happens next is the search which does not evolve into a mystery, but rather marks time as the family adjusts and forever changes. It becomes clear that Kim may never be found and she most certainly has been murdered. The point of the novel isn't for it be a mystery. It's a psychological study on the transition of a family where one of its members goes missing. "Songs" are generated by Kim's mother, father, sister, and friends, although not always in tune. O'Nan portrays each of these characters, mostly in solitude, as they struggle with the hole left in their lives by Kim. We meet Kim at the beginning and get a solid sense of her presence and energy before she yanked out of the picture. Lindsey, Kim's sister becomes the second tragedy because her parents treat her so much differently than they would have. Both parents remark on this and yet can't help themselves from putting a protective bubble around their remaining daughter. Lindsey struggles for air but only really gets any when she's left home and achieves an age that "Kim never was" as she states at the end. Her parents lose her as well. Nina and JP, Kim's closest friends ultimately find refuge when they leave home. Coming back for the endless round of services for Kim cause them much pain, suffering, and guilt which is heaped upon them by Fran, Kim's mother. Fran is the ringmaster in all this. She can't quite let it go and actually experiences much personal growth at the cost of Kim's dignity in absentia. And yet as the book continues, the listener can't help but wonder if we'd do the same. The listener is drawn into to the drama both sickened by it but simultaneously buoyed by hope. The ending leaves you sad and almost grief stricken at all the loses generated by Kim's murder, which are legion. Be warned that this is not a mystery. But it is a good book and read quite well.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
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