My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a very interesting story. It’s based in my town (yay! Portland!) and is, at least in the beginning, set in Forest Park – where I spend a lot of my free running time (yay! trail running!). In addition, it’s based on a true story, so that’s even better (in a manner of speaking – the trueness of the story is actually probably not better for the people involved).
So – the gist (mild spoilers):
A veteran and his daughter live in Forest Park, coming into Portland (across my bridge! to my Safeway!) to collect his disability checks and buy the food they cannot grow. They move around fairly frequently in the Park and spend about four years there, undetected.
They are finally discovered, and brought in & held for awhile by Social Services (I’m sure to make sure that there was no abuse or other weirdness going on). They are placed on a ranch; the father is given a job, and the daughter, who was homeschooled very well during their tenure in the Park, is to start school.
And then – they disappear again.
Although the above does contain mild spoilers, those are the basic facts of the true story. What happens next – which I’m NOT going to talk about – is where the author takes over the string of events.
I found the story very interesting and engaging – a really quick read. Although I understand (to a point) the desire to live off the grid and to keep your child innocent of the world (the father quotes Thoreau a lot), I think that it’s a little unrealistic and found myself really disliking the father – especially towards the end of the book.
His paranoia got worse as the story went on, and I’m sure there was some kind of PTSD from his war service, but I think that his actions are very nearly inexcusable.
Also? Now every time I’m in Forest Park alone, I feel a little paranoid that I’m suddenly going to stumble across a large encampment of itinerants and they’ll kill me so I don’t reveal their location. (Okay – I don’t actually feel that way – I stay on the trails…but I do feel like I’m being watched ALL THE TIME.)
So – a good read, a decent story. I enjoyed the way the author took the basic facts and spun something very engaging from those facts. I do wish his mind had gone more towards the “and they lived happily ever after in a lovely remote compound in Idaho” ending than where it did go, but I can’t fault him for that…my mind hardly ever does happily ever after, either.
And a giveaway!
It’s getting to be that time of the year again! It’s time for All Hallow’s Read! Leave a comment on this post (Edited to add: by 10/25/11) telling me your most memorable (or favorite) scary, creepy, or weird book and two people will be randomly selected to receive a scary book. You can also specify if you want to receive a children’s scary book, a YA scary book, or an adult scary book. The book will, of course, be my choice (mwa ha ha) – I believe last year’s winners both received copies of Chuck Palahniuk’s “Haunted,” which in addition to being awesome, apparently also glows in the dark & can be used to scare your significant other in the middle of the night.
So – comment away! Win a book!