From it's happy yellow cover with brightly colored parrots
peering from all corners*, to the poignant, albeit arguably predictable conclusion, Lost and Found offers intelligent light reading for the beach,
your daily commute (so long as someone else is doing the driving!) or any other
place you might find yourself in the coming months. Its short chapters, each narrated by a different contestant, make it particularly easy to dip in and out of.
Although there are 12 pairs of contestants at the start of the game we only get to know a handful of these in any depth. There's the two former child stars who've spent their lives under the spotlight and see the reality show as their last best hope for returning to some modicum of stardom; there's the deeply troubled couple known to everyone but themselves as Team Brimstone, who are on a mission to tell the world how "the power of the Lord rescued them from homosexuality and delivered them into the loving grace of Christian marriage;" and the central characters of the mother-daughter team, with their superficially normal adult-teen relationship that hides a darker and more miserable truth - a truth that the reality show producers can't wait to reveal on screen.
Parkhurst could have played these characters for laughs but she doesn't. The low-level satire is directed at the concept of reality TV as a genre, not at the individuals whom she treats with respect. Having said that, she does have a wonderful way of skewing people's characters through a simple, throw away comment.
Sadly, the parrots that graced the hardcover have been replaced by a picture of two women and a suitcase in the paperback version - less eye-catching but presumably thought to be more appealing to the target audience.
This review was originally published in August 2006, and has been updated for the July 2007 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.
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