Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Take On Me the Missing and the Dead

Me the Missing and the Dead  by Jenny Valentine was something I got from the library on a whim. I'd never heard of it, wasn't even entirely sure what it was about, but I'd heard good things from a friend and this quick read didn't disappoint.
Me: Lucas Swain—I'm nearly sixteen years old and live in London. I was fairly normal until the night I found Violet. Then everything changed.
The Missing: Dad. He disappeared five years ago. Nobody knows what happened to him, and nobody cares except me. It's enough to drive you crazy.
The Dead: That's Violet . . . in the urn. Speaking of crazy—I know she's trying to tell me something, and I think it's about my father. . . .
A dead lady may not be much to go on, but my dad's out there somewhere, and it's up to me to find out where.

 This was a quirky, contemporary YA story centering on Lucas, our angsty, somewhat lost1, British protagonist and the events that follow his finding an abandoned urn in a smoke-filled taxi depot. He doesn't know why, but he's drawn to the urn, or rather the urn's inhabitant, Violet. He feels as though she's calling to him from the beyond2.
 Lucas's dad disappeared five years ago leaving his family in shambles. His sister went wild, his mother struggles with the load of being a single parent to apathetic children, and Lucas turned himself into the closest image of his father he could based on the little bit he knew of him.
 When everyone had given up on the man who left such a big, messy hole, writing him off as dead or a toal wankster3, Lucas remained loyal to his memory and is certain, most of the time anyway, that he is out there. What that means for him, he's unsure. If he's really alive, and he is out there somewhere, why isn't he here where he's needed?
 There was a lot less of a supernatural vibe in this book than the synopsis initially led me to believe, but I wouldn't change a thing about this deliciously quirky read. It was filled with memorable characters that you could have met in your everyday life. There are realistic events tied into the knot of slightly unrealistic events that make up the main plot points of this book, and they help to ground the story in a tangible reality.
 I really enjoyed this book, and the overall impression it left on me was that of a documentary on a boy trying find his father, but ultimately finding himself, shot in 8mm with the light all orangey and bleaching out the edges of the image and creating little circles of sunlight that dazzle your eyes4. I especially liked the ending; it was open and let your wander further down the path to what Lucas's future might hold.
 I give Me the Missing and the Dead...
... Four zombies.
Highly recommended. If you see it about, by all means, read it! You won't be disappointed.
Happy reading!
1  I mean figuratively, he seemed to find his way around London quite well. I should be so lucky, to put it lightly, I'm directionally challenged.
2  *Spooky ghost-story voice.*
3  His mother's final, bitter word on her husband.
4  Too specific? I think not!


Taschima Cullen said...

I might just have to read it ^^

Dahlia said...

I loved this book! ^_^

Blank Spaces Have Great Potential...