First and foremost, I want to say Happy 4th of July weekend to all my fellow readers out there. Although not all of you will be celebrating the liberation of my nation this long weekend, I still extend a hardy “Who-rah” to you. Nationalism, in healthy doses, is important for every person to have. Although my nation’s actions are not always a direct reflection of my personal beliefs, I’m thankful for my country and the people that have fought for it. Cheers!!
So- back to what I do! I have spent the last few days reading Lost & Found written by Jacqueline Sheehan. I will keep all spoilers to a minimum, although I’m not sure that will matter as I do not believe anyone will be persuaded to read this book by my review. This was my first Sheehan novel, and I’m not sure I will read another.
Here is the bare-bones of this story (focusing only on the main character). L&F was about Rocky, a woman who suffered the tragic, sudden death of her husband Bob. Shaken by this loss, Rocky decides to abandon all her life (home, job, family) to move to an island. On the island, she becomes an animal warden, where she saves a lab’s life after he was found shot with an arrow. She decides to take the dog in until staff on the island are able to find the owner. *Que dog foster mom falling in love with dog*. Eventually, the dog’s original owner is found to be dead. Rocky struggles throughout the book, first with her husband’s death, and then with the facts surrounding the original owner’s death, and then again when the original owner’s parents want the dog back. Apparently, to help process the information, she takes up the hobby of the former owner, archery (supposedly to be “closer” to understanding why the dog was shot). On top of all this, she is also being “hunted” for putting her nose in other’s business and has to fight for her life and for the dog’s.
Throughout the book, there are numerous crazy characters thrown at the reader. Start with Rocky, a supposed psychologist who can not see her own grief and is not able to process it in a more structured manner. At points, Sheehan wrote Rocky to sound like a turbulent adolescent instead of an educated doctor. In the book Rocky demeans eating disorders and condemns the young girls that suffer from it. How can someone that finds that disease so sickening work anywhere that has to do with counseling?? Also, her character was unbelievable to me due to the fact that she was just down-out-right rude on multiple points in the book… How would she have been able to hold down a job with her attitude?
Then you have all the side characters. OH MY GOSH. Some were so useless. Here are just some of the main mentions:
- Melissa, the anorexic, workout obsessed youth
- Tess, the Synesthesia sufferer
- Liz, the dog’s bipolar previous owner
- Peter, Liz’s crazy ex boyfriend
- Liz’s parents, who were estranged
- Rocky’s brother, autistic, and her mother
- Hill, the archery/high school teacher
I have no idea why Sheehan included the story line for Melissa. She was completely useless to this story, in my opinion. The most baffling part, to me, was when Sheehan wrote about her eating dog food. I scuffed at that- to suggest that a teen-aged girl would eat dog food or even to say that a dog would actually save some. HA, sure. Then Sheehan included Tess, who is a sufferer of Synesthesia, a mental condition that causes the brain to misfire and react in multiple parts of the brain. For example, the word Sunday had a shape and color associated with it that Tess could see. What was the point of including this? It had no baring on the story, what-so-ever. Take that out, and Tess’ part could have stood on her own. Sheehan missed including anything important about the brother other than the occasional mention. I felt that the brother’s part in the book should have been larger and Tess and Melissa’s smaller.
The back story for how the dog (Cooper/Lloyd) was shot and the steps that lead to his owner’s death weren’t too well written, either. Sure, Liz suffered bipolar disorder, but I could never see how a parent would become so estranged from her daughter for that. Plus, Liz’s fling with Hill was out of NOWHERE. What Sheehan was trying to hint at was forced, if you ask me… Plus, Rocky had a HUGE overreaction to this. It was so uncalled for. Plus, get real with the wacko Peter. Any guy that is so obsessed with a woman wouldn’t allow her the decision to end her own life. He clearly had to be in control and would have done something much different than what the book said he did.
There is so much I disliked about this book, I can’t even get into it with this review. I want to commiserate with someone about it!! Ahhh!
Literally, Sheehan included so much into one book, how would anyone be able to enjoy it?? This novel would have been a TON better if she focused on telling one character’s story, not 5. The story line would have stood alone if most of the characters were removed, or at least taken away their wacky flaws.
Perhaps I would have liked it more if Sheehan hadn’t wrote the book from the perspective of multiple characters, including the dog’s… Unless the character has some major weight to add to the story, I don’t need to read about their happenings and thoughts. Melissa’s bits were the ones most unnecessary. Her entire story needed it’s own book, not to be smooshed into this one… At least, Tess’ “flaw” was interesting, but I just really felt there was no point to including her mental disorder in the book.
Or, perhaps I would have liked this book better if it was interesting within the fist 100 pages. The speed of the book didn’t pick up (at least for me) until page 102. All of the most important happenings took place within the last 25 pages or so. Essentially, there were at least 180 useless pages in this book, IMO.
The whole book just seemed like a bunch of random topics that Sheehan found super interesting so she wrote about them all. It reminded me of a book project from a high school creative writing class; it was messy and needed refinement.
Would I suggest this book? No.
Alas, I have wasted another few days on not completing a book off my reading list. Since this book was clearly a disappointment to me, I will be doing a review in the next few days of one of my top reads. At least I know that review will be positive and happy! I don’t want you all to think I can only do negative reviews haha.
Hope you all enjoy your coming week! Auf Wiedersehen!