‘Local News’ features a family in crisis

  Lydia Pasternak was used to being the brainy girl on the sidelines, teased by the jocks and ignored by the cheerleaders.
  The 15-year-old lived in the shadow of her older brother, Danny, a popular athlete with popular friends and popular girlfriends.
  But when Danny suddenly went missing, Lydia found herself in the middle of a family drama and became a reluctant celebrity at her school, the adult Lydia reflects years later in “The Local News” by Miriam Gershow. The students set up memorials while the town mobilized search parties to look for Danny. Lydia’s parents fell apart, and, desperate for the return of their golden boy, hired a private investigator to find out what happened.
  While her grieving parents began to neglect Lydia, the teen quietly became a part of Danny’s social circle, relishing the attention given to her by her brother’s friends. At the same time, Lydia developed a crush on the private investigator her family hired. She threw herself into Danny’s case, not so much in an effort to find her brother, but to gain the affection of the PI.
  During this traumatic time, Lydia knew she should feel more grief for Danny, but their complicated relationship left her feeling all mixed up inside.
  I was stuck always between wanting him and hating him, between hoping he’d come sit on the edge of my bed and hoping he’d have some gruesome accident that would scar him or paralyze him or both.
  A decade later, Lydia prepares to return to her hometown for her high school reunion. Knowing once again she will take a back seat to her brother, Lydia struggles to come to terms with her past as well as Danny.
  Gershow realistically captures the confusing emotions of the teenage Lydia. The girl’s response to her brother’s disappearance seems not bratty but authentic, the reaction of a pubescent girl who finds herself in the middle of an unimaginable crisis.
  “The Local News” is a coming-of-age tale told without judgment but with sympathy, a poignant story of a woman trying to reconcile all she has lost.

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