Author: Emily Murdoch
Release date: March 5th 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Hardcover, 256 pages
Source: Publisher for review
The Book Depository
There are some things you can’t leave behind…A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.
I knew it! I knew I should follow my instincts and stay far, far away from this book, but as usual, I let you people convince me with your wonderful reviews and look where it got me! I am heartbroken and depressed. And I ate more ice cream than one person should in a lifetime. I hope you’re happy with yourselves.
If you find me, take me home, I’d written.
However, some minor comparisons can’t be helped. I’ve read many stories about abused children in the past, but very few of them had voices as strong as Carey’s. Murdoch showed that not all traumatized kids act out. Some of them go to the other extreme – they behave respectfully, responsibly, always polite, always tiptoeing around those who make them feel safe, hoping to be allowed to stay where life doesn’t seem so bad.
The poor grammar served to strengthen the authenticity of Carey’s voice, but she didn’t need it, not really. She was as clear as bell from the very first sentence, her heart and her thoughts clearly on display for all of us to see. Instead of making her seem detached, her matter-of-fact narration only emphasized her hurt tenfold. She had every right to be angry, to rage and scream at the injustice, and I kept expecting her to do so, at least once, but she never did. She is very accepting of her past and her present both, always trying to make the best of things.
That’s not to say that I didn’t appreciate Murdoch’s excellent writing. I can only assume that playing with language while telling a story like Carey’s wasn’t easy, but she did it elegantly. She was consistent in language, and it often reflected Carey’s state of mind, which is quite extraordinary, if you think about it. She did it subtly, making Carey’s grammar more polished when she felt secure (or wanted to protect herself by slipping into a different persona, in a way), and more deteriorated when she was, physically or mentally, closer to her camper in the Hundred Acre Woods.
Everything about Carey’s family seemed warm and inviting, so of course she had a hard time believing it to be real. She’s never had anyone taking care of her; she was the caregiver from the day her sister Nessa was born. Even allowing someone else to take care of Jenessa is hard, but Carey always does what’s best for her sister, and having a family and a warm home is exactly that.
Even if somehow If You Find Me doesn’t get all the literary awards it deserves, I’ll always picture this cover covered in medals. But I’m hoping for the William C. Morris award at the very least, and I’ve been right about these things before, you know. So even though I complained about my persuasive fellow bloggers at the beginning of this review, I am really very grateful. Some books you read for entertainment, and some because they make you a better person. If You Find Me is of the latter variety.