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Songs For The Missing Hardcover – Nov 4 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Viking USA (Nov. 4 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067002032X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670020324
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.2 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 440 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #696,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By autumnrose on June 30 2008
Format: Hardcover
Songs for the Missing is about a teenaged girl who goes missing, and the struggle of her family, friends, and community to deal with grief, fear and the unknown. The story belongs, ultimately, not to Kim but to those she left behind.

I found the characters to be very relatable. I could see myself in all of them, and even when I didn't agree with the decisions they made, I understood why they made them. I do wish their feelings and characters could have been explored more fully, but with so many characters it would have been quite difficult to do so without getting in the way of the plot.

It was hard for me to read at points, not because it was slow, but because it was so real. If you personally know someone who has gone missing, this will probably be a very hard book for you to read.

There were parts that weren't as developed as I would have liked, and the ending seemed kind of rushed, and not as fulfilling as I had hoped. I would still recommend it, but it's not the kind of book I would reread again and again. That said, I will never forget it.

Also recommended: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 75 reviews
47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
How sudden loss affects a family Sept. 2 2008
By C. Anderson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Meet Kim Larsen. She is eighteen years old, pretty and popular, and about a month away from leaving for college and the wider world. She can hardly wait. Like most small town kids, she and her friends chafe from the sameness and boredom of daily life. They drink more than they should and experiment a bit with drugs. But they are good kids at heart and are so looking forward to going away, being on their own, growing up.

Then, somewhere in the short distance between her home and her workplace, she seemingly vanishes into thin air. No trace of her, or her car. No one has seen anything. She's just gone. This is the story of those left behind. The author changes the point of view for each chapter and the reader feels the reaction of each person: Mom, Dad, sister, best friend, boyfriend. We see how they react and try to cope with the reality of Kim's loss.

Her Mom Fran gets organized, makes lists, makes calls, starts a website, talks to the press.

Her Dad Ed gets outside, taking the lead in the numerous searches that start immediately and continue for months.

Her younger sister Lindsay retreats into herself, a book, her I-Pod, the tv, the computer. Anything to keep people away. Especially her parents who can't resist the impulse to smother their remaining child with protectiveness. More than anyone else, this is her story.

Young girls disappear every day, not only in the US but around the world. Many are never seen again and their fates are often never known. Songs for the Missing gives you a glimpse of the flattening anguish and grief that the loved ones suffer when this happens.

Despite the emotional subject matter, this book is a surprisingly easy read. The author's smooth and comfortable style allow the reader to sink into the story, empathize with the characters, be a member of that family. Stewart O'Nan is a talented writer who has written a book that will resonate long after you finish it.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Tough Topic - Well Done Nov. 9 2008
By My2Cents - Published on
Format: Hardcover
What would do if your teen aged daughter disappeared without a trace? When--if ever--do you stop looking for her?

This is exactly what happens to Kim Larsen, age 18, popular, a small town Ohio girl just weeks before she is to leave for college. She spends an afternoon at the lake with her friends then never shows up for work that evening and is never seen again. It is not until the next morning that her parents, and 15 year old sister, realize Kim is missing.

The book starts out like a mystery, but it soon becomes very much a character study about how people act when a family is in crisis. When one person keeps themselves busy and involved every minute of the day, others may turn inward and shut the world out. What if normal grieving? Is there such a thing? Do remaining family members grow closer or more distant in times of crisis such as this. These are the questions I found myself thinking about as I read this book.

I expected that this book would be more of a mystery. So initially I was a bit disappointed, but it still was very very well written, and I am not sorry that I read it.

O'Nan is a really good author, and even when his books are not necessarily what you might have expected, I have always found them enjoyable.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Feels very real Feb. 16 2009
By Z Hayes - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Reading "Songs for the Missing" wasn't easy, in fact it was excruciating - the subject matter centering on a young girl's disappearance and the effect on her family, friends and community is heartrending and it was painful to read about these people coping with their loss and grief.

When 18-year-old Kim Larsen disappears from her small Ohio town of Kingsville, her family, friends and community are mobilized to quick action. But then time passes, and those close to Kim realise they need to make a conscientious attempt at getting back to a semblance of normality - her parents, her sister [who finds herself being overshadowed by her beautiful, popular sister even when she's missing], Kim's boyfriend, friends etc - the book basically follows what happens to people when someone they know goes missing, with no real resolution.

This is not a traditional thriller or crime procedural - there's not a set of clues that helps one determine Kim's fate. On the contrary, it's a searing narrative with characters that are very real and who try to put their lives together despite a great tragedy.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
too bad June 8 2009
By Ryan Van Baalen - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I really can't put my finger on this one...

On one hand, I know the author was creating a sense of tedium trying to convey the empty and hopeless feeling of Kim's family.

On the other hand, this book was soooooooo boring. Like another reviewer said, I WANT TO KNOW more about Kim's friends and the secrets they had with the ex-marine. You might say O'Nan didn't fill us in because he wanted to leave us with wondering (much like Kim's parents)...maybe,I don't know.....BUT, if that was the case, then why did he spend countless pages detailing some girl's quest to put her dead mother's house on the market for 95k instead of the 89k that Ed suggested? How does that contribute to the story?

I know, I know...I just don't get it. The book is supposed to show us how the world keeps dragging along at its slow and uneventful pace even after a horrible abduction...but I could barely finish this one.

Even the last ten pages...hoping for a haunting conclusion, left me instead with nothing. *shrugs*
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
O'Nan's gift for Dec 7 2008
By Jordan Sollitto - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like "Last Night at the Lobster" and "Wish you Were Here," the thing that most awed me about the latest from O'Nan is his stunning ability to once again make his characters' reactions to events that do NOT occur so real...and riveting. Without revealing anything about them that might ruin your reading experience, suffice it to say that each novel is propelled by the way in which its characters cope not with an important occurence, but instead with the ongoing void left where that hoped-for event failed to materialize. If you're into plot-driven fiction, look to another author (though O'Nan's "Prayer for the Dying" might be his one exception). But if you enjoy being drawn into a fictional world so utterly lifelike in its unwillingness to provide clarity, closure or resolution that you ache with empathy for everyone involved, this is brilliant literature.

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