Archive for June 2nd, 2008

Title: “Songs for the Missing”

Author: Stewart O’Nan

Format: Paperback ARC

Number of Pages: 287

ISBN: 978-0-670-02032-4

Publisher: Viking

Date of Publication: November 2008

4 stars: What would you do if your child went missing?



                                         A Novel

“The first person her mother called was Nina.

The second was J.P.

The third was Connie at the hospital.

The fourth was the police.” (*pg 15)


I admit that I’ve been putting off reading this book.  By reading the back blurb I could tell that it would be a depressing read.  “Songs for the Missing” is the story of a girl named Kim, and what happens to her family, friends, and community when she goes missing.  Neither I, nor anyone in my family, have ever had to experience the disappearance of a friend or family member, for which I am extremely thankful- especially after reading this book.  I cannot imagine going through what Kim’s family did.

My issues with this book were few and far in between– oddly enough mainly the beginning and the ending.  I felt that we were overloaded with details in the first few pages.  It was too much at once, and I really had to push through them.  It did pick up after that, and I found it hard to put the book down.  As for the ending, I would have preferred if the book had ended without the last two chapters.  To me they felt if they had just been tacked on as an afterthought.  They weren’t bad, just different, and maybe unnecessary.  (Just my opinion of course.)  My only other problem with the book was the shift of point of view in the chapters.  It at times felt jarring, and took a minute to figure out who was telling the story.  However, it was enlightening to see through the eyes of different characters.  I particularly found J.P’s (Kim’s boyfriend) point of view the most interesting.

The story itself was hard to read at times.  I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for somebody who has had a disappearance of a friend or family member.  I got teary-eyed at a couple of spots.  The grief, the denial, the searches, the fliers, the volunteers… it was a lot to take in.  O’Nan’s use of details make us feel like we are there– you can feel the bushes scrape your leg as you search through the wood, your heart leaps into your throat everytime the phone rings…  But from tips to clues, to trying to guess who was guilty-if anyone- overall I felt the story flowed nicely.  Even more interesting was the metamorphosis of Kim’s sister and parents.

I think I would recommend this book, so long as the person is aware of the subject matter and believes they can handle it.  This is the first of O’Nan’s work that I’ve picked up, but I will definitely be looking for some of his others.  (From the back cover: Stewart O’Nan is the author of eleven novels, most recently Last Night at the Lobster, a story collection, and two works of nonfiction.  He lives with his family in Connecticut)

(Thanks to Barnes&Noble’s FirstLook Program, Viking, and Stewart O’Nan)

*These lines may change in the final publication of the book.


Missed my last post?  It was 6 CONTESTS.


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6 Contests

1. First off, check out the Giveaway of Awesomesauce by She Reads Books.  She’s giving away five books to five lucky winners:

Atonement, by Ian McEwanDining with Death, by Kathleen MolloyAsleep, by Banana YoshimotoThe Ovum Factor, by Marvin L ZimmermanSwimming Pool Sunday, by Madeleine Wickham

The books are “Atonement” by Ian McEwan, “Dining With Death” by Kathleen Malloy, “Asleep” by Banana Yoshimoto, “The Ovum Factor” by Marvin L. Zimmerman, and “Swimming Pool Sunday” by Madeleine Wickham


All you have to do is comment here for an entry, and link to the post for two more entries. The contest runs to June 3rd at midnight EST, with the winners being drawn on the 4rth and contacted on the 5th.  Sounds great!

2. The Friendly Book Nook is giving away a copy of “The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson.  Comment on this post, agreeing to particpate in the group discussion in the third week of June for one entry, and blog about the contest for another.


3.  She is too fond of Books is giving away an ARC of “The Brass Verdict” by Michael Connelly.  Leave a comment here, saying why you’d like to read the book, post about this on your blog and link to the contest, and finally agree to share the book as a giveaway when you’re done with it.  Easy enough 🙂


4. Lori’s Reading Corner is doing another Pay it Forward giveaway. 


Drop by this post for a chance to win:

  • Shakedown (Pinnacle Books Fiction) by Joel Goldman
  • Tempting Evil (Prison Break, Book 2) by Allison Brennan
  • Certain Girls: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner
  • To win, post about this on your blog (using the pay it forward button), sign the Mr. Linky, and agree to pay it forward– give the book away when you’re done.  Lori says that if there are 1-20 entries then there will be one winner who gets all three books.  If there are 21+, three people will each win one book 🙂


    5. And another Pay It Forward contest over at Bookroomreviews.  Comment here, for a chance to win “The Safety of Secrets” by Delaune Michel.  The drawing will be held June 15th.

    The Safety of Secrets


    6. Trish over at Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? is giving away a copy of “The Wednesday Sisters” by Meg Waite Clayton.  Comment here for an entry, and link for another.  The contest will end June 23, with the winner pulled June 24. 



    Missed my last post?  It was TAGGED TWICE: MORE ABOUT ME.

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