Book Review: If You Find Me
ashley | If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch starts at the end. Two sisters, found alone in the woods, rescued and thrust back into civilization with a father they hardly know. This is an emotional journey as Carey and Jenessa try to leave behind their former life, suppress a haunting secret and find their place in this new reality.
This is a wonderful debut, the story is touching and heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful, you really feel the sense of fear and confusion that Carey experiences. The book is written with an undereducated, small town drawl, where words don’t have their g’s at the end and aint is a common sentence component, despite being well versed, home schooled and smart beyond their age. Conflicting with this tone are some really beautiful similes and phrasing that seem so odd in the picture that’s forming, but also somehow perfect to the situation.
It’s frightening how manipulative and downright cruel their mother was to them. The epitome of monster right there. And it broke my heart to see how loyal and trusting the two girls were of her, they didn’t know any better. After just finishing Living Dead Girl, about a blatant kidnapping, it was interesting to wade through the blurred lines in this kidnapping story. Both are significantly different but no less disturbing.
I loved the sisterly bond between Carey and Jenessa. They’ve only ever had each other and that’s not something that can be easily shaken. But what I loved the most was that this was refreshingly lacking cliches and that annoyingly dumbed down naivety that allows a character to think that they can do whatever they want and don’t understand why they stand out as a result. It’s not an overly complex book, but what Murdoch does with it is a great thing.
I did think there was room to explore some of these elements a bit deeper though. Especially the relationship between Carey and her step sister Delaney. They were on opposite sides of the situation, both with their own adjustments and a unique understanding of each other but I think they resolved their personal issues a bit too quickly and easily, it was kind of a rushed and a wasted experience when it could have been something with a lot more impact.
“If you find me, please take me home” was scrawled inside the old camper in the woods and those words, the true meaning of home, gives such a warm and comforting feeling, much like how this book leaves you feeling.