‘Little Lost River’ a story of survival
September 21, 2008 - 4:00 am
“The day after my mom put the gun in her mouth, I went back to school.”
From the first sentence of “Little Lost River” by Pamela Johnston, I knew this was going to be an emotional read.
The book, divided up in chapters narrated by different characters, centers around 16-year-old Cindy Morgan and her schoolmate Frances Rogers.
Cindy is involved in a terrible car crash and is comforted by Frances, who comes across the accident site.
Though Frances is more studious and reserved than Cindy, the girls form a strong friendship, due to their troubled family backgrounds.
Cindy and her father both are scarred by her mother’s suicide. Frances has an overprotective mother who embraces propriety.
Both teens struggle to find their own way and survive the trials of adolescence. Frances becomes pregnant by her boyfriend, she calls on her friend Cindy for help.
The book not only shifts perspectives between Cindy and Frances, but also moves back in time, telling the stories of the girls’ mothers, Alice Morgan and Helen Rogers.
This is a lot to pack into one fairly short coming-of-age novel. Johnston creates strong characters readers can identify with, but the shifting perspectives and time frames were a little much for me.
The writing is good, and I do always like books filled with characters who are haunted by their pasts.
“The past is like that river my dad’s hometown is named for, going underground and showing up again a hundred miles away, in tiny springs that barely resemble the river it used to be. Or like water itself: bottle it up, watch it evaporate, and still it comes back again.”
Ultimately, though the plot is interesting and the writing good, there are a lot of books out there like this one. I guess for me there wasn’t anything that made it stand out from all the other coming-of-age novels. It’s not worse than any of the others, but it doesn’t really rise to the top either.
If this genre is your thing, you’ll probably like this book, if not, there are better books hitting shelves right now.