One of my favorite novels from 2013 was about a mother who uses social media to reconstruct the events that led to her teenage daughter's suicide (Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCraight). I loved the incorporation of today's technology and the huge role it plays in our lives - for good and for ill. Thus the premise of Holly Brown's (a practicing family therapist herself) new novel, DON'T TRY TO FIND ME was like a magnet for me:
When a fourteen-year-old runs away, her parents turn to social media to find her - launching a public campaign that will expose their darkest secrets and change their family forever - in this suspenseful and gripping debut...
Yeah. I was all over that. And was it worth it? I thought so. Because ultimately, Don't Try to Find Me is about so much more than a missing daughter. Told in a dual - mother and daughter - narrative, Brown digs deep into the psyche of parents and teens here. She doesn't offer easy answers or platitudes because in real life these don't exist. But she does offer insights. Insights into what we as parents often do and why we do it as well as insights into the teen angst. As frustrated as I felt with the characters at times throughout the novel, I wouldn't want Brown to change a single word....it was honest.
Don't Try to Find Me also manages to slip in themes of social media and societal judgement -- the proverbial double-edged sword. She does a very competent job of weaving this seamlessly and in the end, although not tied up with a pretty bow, she does at least tie it up. It's up to you, the reader, to decide whether these "tools" are a good thing. And if the ends are worth the means.
Thought-provoking. This is how I would describe every page of Brown's novel. And I am looking forward to seeing it garner some deserving attention this summer.
Title: Don't Try to Find Me
Author: Holly Brown
Publisher: William Morrow
Date: July 8, 2014