Stories like Lost & Scared are not exactly my cup of tea. I am going to give it a 5 on 5.
What does the above line mean? Too often I find reviewers voice their opinion on how they feel about a product or service rather than its contextual merit. But isn’t that what a genuine review supposed to be like? No, sir. The problem here is with a linguistic limitation that leads to our routine miscommunications – paucity of words. While yes, a review is supposed to express one’s feeling, the circumstance and context of that feeling is equally crucial and must be monitored/considered. For instance, when you have a nasty cold and can barely smell or taste even the best of delicacies, is it fair to say that the problem lies with that dish? Or when your cab driver has given you hell en route to a hotel, is it just that you treat the check-in experience as faulty? Too often - and I have experienced this first hand in a professional context - that is the case. Unreasonable? Yes.
While writing reviews, I try to adhere to one humble objective: to dig out the author’s intention and analyze his/her approach to it without personality bias. The story itself follows next. My agreement to the concept is a trivial opinion that comes right in the end. Reading Lost & Scared, I was faced with an issue that is quite simply alien to me. The crime of parental abduction is quite unheard of on the other side of the planet, but given that over 200000 families experience these annually in the US makes it no less significant. That is nearly 550 cases per day, 1 every 3 minutes!
Ms. Sprayberry centers her story on a family comprising an abusive, escapist father, a victimized mother and her children. She puts us right in the thick of tragedy through her storytelling as the chapters move along in 1st person – alternated between Shane & Keri – twins who suffer the brunt of evil ongoings. It is an excellence idea of to showcase the domestic ills from the point of view of children – the biggest sufferers. The twins bear a psychic connection where one can feel the other’s turmoil/joy, thereby giving us a more holistic view. The author goes a step further to as she adapts the tone and language based on her characters, keeping them realistically contemporary with the use of both slang and sober mannerisms.
The narrative highlights strengths and weaknesses in equal measure. The wailing of a child or painful weeping of her mother renders us feeling helpless on one hand. On the other, we have a young captive who, three months into captivity, remains undeterred in spirit and smiles at her kidnappers’ reactions. The idea here is not so much to gift us twists. It is to cruise us through a problem that we must lend an ear to. To temporarily abandon meaningless fantasies for an urgent need takes responsibility and defiance. K. C. Sprayberry handles it well. The interest each succeeding chapter generates in us readers is simply a bonus.
The author acknowledges that the aftereffects of such abductions are beyond measure. She also dedicates this book to their victims in lieu of the pain and the lives they lead thereafter. It is an intention so pure that a quantitative judgement of her book’s entertainment quotient just feels wrong. As it should. It is due to this book that I am now aware of a social crisis beyond just the numbers. And that is its objective. So while we continue to witness an age of calculated, left-brained fascinations, let us step back to credit a beautiful endeavor that is simple and caring. In the words of one of K. C. Sprayberry’s characters, at times all we want is that – normal.
Book Review by The Fly
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