In a world where you are tasked with raising a child and keeping him or her safe, one of the worst things to happen would be for that child to disappear. You would feel heartbroken, and you would blame yourself, but what if they came back?
Tom and his wife Abby are living a terrible half-life, an imitation of the real thing. Tom takes the dog, Frosty, to the pound. Frosty is the last living link to their daughter, Caitlin. Four years ago Caitlin disappeared while taking the dog for a walk. As the dog cannot speak, no one knows what happened to Caitlin. Leads have dried up. The case has been put on simmer. Abby wants to hold a fake memorial for Caitlin, just to feel some closure.
Tom and Abby decide to split. Their lives are just too different now. The disappearance of their twelve-year-old daughter has taken the tender things away from their relationship.
One day something surprising happens. There is a lead. A young woman who works at a strip club has a story to tell Tom. She says she saw his daughter, Caitlin, there in the strip club. She was with an old man, perfectly described by the witness. Everyone tells Tom not to get his hopes up, but it’s the first real lead they’ve had in years. A sketch is released to the public.
Meanwhile, Tom’s relationship with his brother is also strained. The younger brother, Buster, who has been in some trouble with the law, refuses to acknowledge that there was anything bad ever going on at the house while they were growing up. Tom and Buster butt heads continuously over things and seem to have falling-outs weekly.
Tom’s phone rings one day, and it’s the police. They have his daughter. Sure enough, Caitlin is there, alive, at the police station. She asks Tom never to ask where she was and what happened. Taking Caitlin home is strange. She is a different person now, and no one yet knows what the relationship is between Caitlin and her captor. How did it happen? Why didn’t she try to run away sooner?
Things go from bad to worse before any semblance of progress appears. David begins to think he sees another girl, much like Caitlin in the cemetery beside the park. First, he thinks she is a ghost of Caitlin, but the truth comes out. The truth that does come out would break any parent’s heart.
What I liked
I’ve read similar books, some of them were actually true stories, such as Jaycee Dugard’s memoir. Girls are frequently taken and for various reasons. They’re taken away from parents, who, no doubt, blame themselves to a large extent. What could they have done? There is nothing they would not give to have the chance to have their daughter back again. This book shows the harsh reality of getting the daughter back. It may not be the fairytale reunion you had always dreamed of. Things may have been happening that have completely changed who your daughter is. I liked the psychology of this book.
David weaves in enough self-doubt to put and edge on the whole story. Any of us would doubt ourselves. Any of us would have trouble with this situation. Tom’s life seems very authentic to
What I didn’t like
We are looking at a case of Stockholm syndrome here. We are talking about a little girl who was taken away from her family. Her emotions and not fully developed brain played a part in her being able to believe the things she believed of her captor.
She was only twelve years old when she was taken. Twelve is such a malleable age in a girl’s life. You women know what I’m talking about; the men have no idea. At twelve, you are just going through puberty, or you recently went through puberty. You’re not a little girl, but you’re not a woman either. You believe everything everyone says about you. You have not developed the bit of thicker skin that comes with growing up a few years and facing some more grown-up challenges. If someone tells you you’re fat, you believe them. If someone tells you that you’re ugly, you believe them. If someone tells you that your parents don’t love you anymore and that you should stay with that person, you believe them.
Just as an aside, let this be a reminder to all of you–be careful of what you say to girls that are twelve and around that age. You might say something to them that damages them for life. The psyche of a preteen girl is a fragile thing.
If this girl had been a little older, by just a couple of years or so, she would have been able to resist this man just a little more so. Give her four more years, and she would have gone kicking and screaming.
This book is a fast and entertaining read that will leave you wondering what’s going to happen next.