Sunday, July 21, 2013

When She Was Gone by Gwendolen Gross

Pretty seventeen year old Linsey Hart is bound for college at Cornell and a bright future when she vanishes early on summer morning from her home on Sycamore Street. Her disappearance opens a window into the private lives of her neighbors, outwardly normal people, but…everyone has secrets, things they don’t want the world to see.

We see Linsey’s social outcast mom searching door to door for her daughter; the boyfriend she insisted Linsey break up with because she thought the pressure of maintaining the relationship with the two of them away at separate colleges would be too much; Mr. Leonard, the elderly, dying, piano teacher, an insomnia, who saw Linsey leave; Reeva, the bored forty-something housewife hiding her affair with a young Starbucks barista young enough to be her son; and George, the eleven year old loner who is determined to find out what happened to Linsey.

This was an interesting novel that gives a good, fly on the wall perspective about the inner lives of the people who live next door who we ignore or think we know, but as far as stories about missing persons go it is ultimately lackluster. As a reader, in my opinion, it leaves you at a crossroads, as a person you want it to all turn out for the best, you don’t want something horrible to have happened to such a nice girl, you don’t want her to become an unsolved mystery, but as a reader you kind of also crave something more. So, to sum things up—great insight into the neighbors’ secret lives, but as a mystery nothing much, but still, in my opinion, well written and worth reading.

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