Thursday, April 17, 2014
Remember Me Like This by Bret Anthony Johnston
I usually think of depression as a cold thing, but in Remember Me Like This, it is oppressive heat.
Set in the fictional town of Southport, Texas, near Corpus Christi on the Gulf Coast, Bret Anthony Johnston conveys a languid tension in a family in a small town that has experienced tragedy. A child has disappeared.
The family is broken. Eric and Laura Campbell's oldest son, Justin, has been missing for four years. Eric, Laura, and their other son, Griff, have spent those four years searching for Justin, not knowing whether he is alive or dead. Four years from when he disappeared and they don't know if they should stop what has felt like a fruitless search, or continue, if only to find their son's body.
As well as conveying the brokenness of the family, Johnston seemed to capture each family member's own grief signature - Laura's energy for her family fading into passion for a rescued dolphin, Eric's inability to confront his own lack of strength, and Griff's life in his brother's fractured shadow, trying to be careful not to mention or emulate his missing brother too much.
How does a family live as hope deteriorates?
I loved the atmosphere of the book. Tension and guilt and fear and depression and hope and heat...Johnston makes each character come believably alive. Having never experienced the awful disappearance of a child, as well as the unknowing of the lost child's fate, many times as I was reading I had the thought that "this is what it must feel like".
The book begins with the family four years into Justin's disappearance. About a third of the way into the book I read the back cover, which told a major plot point. I wish I had not seen that plot development before it happened in my own reading. This is one of those books I think it's better not to know too much about. It's a gift to be part of the unfolding.
These characters and this story will be with me for a long time.
This book will be available for purchase on May 13, 2014. We were lucky enough to snag an ERC (Early Reviewer Copy) through library thing.com. Thank you Librarything!
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