Linda S. (Arlington Heights, IL)
Where You Can Find Me
I was very interested in reading this book. A "ripped from the headlines" tale. The premise is intriguing. Boy kidnapped from his family, returned and then the aftermath. Unfortunately I expected so much more. The first problem I had was with the unlikeable mother, Marlene. She jaded my reading experience. I kept waiting for it to get better, hook me in. I just never got there. I had to re-read portions because my mind kept wandering. Maybe it'll grab me at another time...if I give it another chance which is unlikely.
Tracy N. (Mill Valley, CA) Tracys2cents@wordpress.
A Haunting, Messy Account of a Horrific Crime and Its Aftermath
Sheri Joseph's "Where You Can Find Me" is a haunting study of the messy dynamics of a family recovering from a kidnapping. Caleb Vincent, 14, returns to his family after being kidnapped when he was eleven years old. The family has suffered during his absence and his return brings confusion, guilt, media focus and a decision to retreat to Costa Rica where they can find privacy from the relentless media attention.
The parents are instructed at the very beginning to not ask any questions of Caleb about the time he was kidnapped, "Give him some space" says the FBI. And so the family waits for Caleb to tell what happened to him during the "Gone". The tension builds as bits of his imprisonment by a pedophile are leaked during the progression of the story. We watch for any signs of damage, trauma and try to make sense of who is Caleb.
There is rawness to the family as they display their vulnerabilities. Marlene, the mother, wants Costa Rica to give her, Caleb, and his sister normalcy when she has been addicted to the search for Caleb along with drugs and alcohol. The father stays behind in the U.S., missing. I did not like all the characters but found them very real.
But Caleb seems ambivalent about his family and remembers "Jolly", the man, who saved him from the pedophile network. Who is Jolly, savior or exploiter? Who was "Nicky", Caleb's alter identity during the period he was "gone". At times meandering, all tangents lead to the story of the reconstruction of a fragmented family in ways that would not be expected and might surprise.
As a psychiatric nurse, I found the messy reconstruction of a broken family very real and think Sheri Joseph did a good study of the Vincent family.
Kenan R. (Liberty, MO)
Well - I Finished It
I was an English major. I like slice of life fiction that meanders with no discernible beginning or ending. I consider not finishing a book a personal failure. This book was almost my Waterloo. The description intrigued me, but the actual book was an abject let down. The characters were unformed, and the plot so tedious that standstill would be an overstatement. How does one take a child's abduction, return and move to Cost Rica, and make it so mind-numbingly boring? On a 10 hour bus ride from Kansas City to Dallas with my daughter's team I chose staring out the window into the darkness at what I assume was rural Oklahoma over reading this book.
Kristen H. (Hagerstown, MD)
Where I can be found
I liked the book at first start and thought it had good potential, however, it quickly faded. I did not like how the author reunited Caleb's abductor with Caleb. The context of the book also, at times lacked. I had a difficult time with finishing the book.
Cynthia C. (Peekskill, NY)
Wanted to like this more
I had high hopes for this book, based on the synopsis & reviews, but unfortunately, it didn't live up to my expectations. I thought the story would be more about Caleb, including his kidnapping & return to his family. Instead, it mainly focused on Marlene, who I didn't find particularly interesting or likeable. I thought the story was a bit disjointed and that it dragged in some places.
Wendy F. (Kalamazoo, MI)
Where You Can Find Me
Unfortunately I was disappointed in this book. I thought the premise sounded so interesting and was looking forward to reading it however it just didn't quite measure up. I felt Lark got lost in the story and could have been developed a lot more. Marlene seemed unbelievably permissive once they arrived in Costa Rica especially the way she was portrayed in the beginning of the book during the time Caleb was gone. It held my interest enough that I wanted to finish to find out what happened but I found it dragged a bit.
Patricia S. (Yankton, SD)
Wish I liked this better
I was somewhat disappointed in this novel. The characters were well developed if not completely believable. The action was fast paced but really fizzled out in the end. The author did a good job of establishing suspense, but the climax was disappointing in its blandness. I thought the subject matter could have led to a much different and better novel without becoming voyeuristic. Too many underdeveloped and unresolved threads for my taste.