“She had a vision of the two of them trapped on a tiny raft surrounded by miles of open water. It would be a kind of test, like surviving on a desert island--but that's what a marriage was, wasn't it? They would have to help each other or die.” - O'Nan Stewart, Songs For The Missing
Songs For The Missing by Stewart O'Nan is a story about Kim Larsen, a popular and pretty teenage girl who goes missing. But it's not really Kim's story. It's Kim's mother's, father's, sister's, boyfriend's and best friend's story. Because this novel's more about how Kim's loved ones cope during the time after her disappearance than it's about the disappearance itself.
I have really mixed feelings about Songs For The Missing. I did find it to be a pretty interesting book that went into a lot of detail on what happens when a teenager goes missing. Or at least what happened when Kim went missing, but even if this is a fictional story it feels believable and well-researched to me. So, yes the novel i pretty well-written, feels believable and you can see that Stewart O'Nan has put a lot of time end effort into the story-line. But then there's one little detail, or it's probably not just a little detail because I don't feel ANYTHING for the characters in this book. The story itself feels believable, but not the characters. They feel blank and a bit cold. I have no idea how people react when their kids go missing, but Kim's family are so collected an put together that it feels a bit strange. Sure, there is a few tears but never a real breakdown or something even close to it. The only character that I connect with in any way is the father. He at least feels a bit sympathetic compared to the sister and mother.
I also kind of wish that Kim's boyfriend and friends got some more room in this story. As a reader I get a bit curious about how they actually feel, and what they think. I understand that the focus of the book is on Kim's family. But I wish there was some more depth to the boyfriend's and friend's story as well.
That being said, I didn't think this was a bad book. Like I said i the beginning I thought that it was pretty interesting and I also really like how Stewart O'Nan described the surroundings, I really felt like I was in small town america. I also liked the details and the general story-line. But in the end Songs For The Missing was bit of an disappointment for me. I was excepting more warmth and heart in this story. I wanted to feel something when I read it. I wouldn't tell anyone to not read the book but I probably wouldn't tell anyone to read it either. Songs For The Missing gets 2,5/5 stars.
This post was written by regular reviewer Niina, get to know her here.