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Read-n-Rider
Posts: 157
Registered: ‎01-29-2007
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Re: Stark Reality

3 Stars
 
This is a book about the disappearance of an 18-year-old girl and the subsequent impact of this disappearance on her family, friends and community.  The story is told in a very objective, matter-of-fact way.  There is little in the way of sentimentality, of emotion shown by the characters to elicit sympathy from the reader, or of judgment on the part of anyone about the final outcome.  It's just, "Here's what happened; this is the way it was."
 
I confess that I did not really enjoy reading Songs for the Missing, and yet I was not left with a feeling of indifference at the end.  I felt rather that I had peeked into the lives of suffering people, seen "how it was," and it was awful.  Mr. O'Nan has taken us into a place where none of us would ever want to go and has shown us that some are forced there and somehow manage to survive.
 
Joan
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bmbrennan
Posts: 153
Registered: ‎02-28-2007
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Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

5 Stars
The Never Ending Summer

This was my first encounter with Mr. O'Nan's work and I have become an instant fan.  This story dealt with the effects of unexpected loss.  The story begins with the disappearance of Kim.  The remaining characters must not only deal with her loss but also who and what they have become and will become without Kim in their lives.  They will always remember that summer for it will be their summer of endings and beginnings.

bmbrennan
When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. Churchill
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thefamilymanager
Posts: 26
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

4 Stars
 
Haunting and Thought Provoking
 
What would you do if your child was abducted?  This is the story of the family of an abducted child.  It explores the family and friends' behavior after the abduction and what it means to each of them.  This book is extremely well written and really explores each character and their coping mechanisms. Great character study!
 
Lisa
 
Recommended Reading:  The Somnambulist, Remember Me, Little Women
LMD

- if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with! - Dorothy - Wizard of OZ
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va-BBoomer
Posts: 84
Registered: ‎01-21-2008
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Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

Great but not perfect
 
4 stars
 
This was my first Stewart O'Nan book, and it was a good start to his writing.  This is a story of what every parent fears - having one of their children disappear.  I found myself having a hard time putting the book down because I was drawn into the story and wanted to see what happened.  The ending is not happily-ever-after, and some will have trouble understanding and accepting that.  But this is often life.
 
I do wish the characters could have been fleshed out a bit more, with more details about how they adjusted or tried to adjust to the nightmare they were forced to live.  It would have been good to have the parents' backgrounds more detailed to clue one into how they coped with the horror.  But overall, you are given a good overlay as to how everyone lived their lives both during and after the girl's disappearance.
 
This book has a very good story and character development, but is just not quite perfect.
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dragonfly33
Posts: 17
Registered: ‎02-05-2008
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Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

I don't know what I would rate this book.  It was an easy read.  I was able to put it down and not rush back to it.  I was hoping for a different ending, but sadly this stuff happens all to often. 
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LeisaPS
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎01-03-2008
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Re: UNFINISHED MELODY

[ Edited ]


bentley wrote:
Unfinished Melody

SONGS FOR THE MISSING had the potential to be a great book. A beloved daughter goes missing, and the aftershocks of her departure paralyze, shock and forever change her family and her friends. In fact, Kim Larsen's disappearance changes 'everything'.

Stewart O'Nan's style of writing is minimalistic, stark and open ended. His imagery can be riveting and incisive. The question that I had at the end of the novel, however, was that 'sadly' more than Kim Larsen was missing.

The ending seems rushed, there are huge gaps in character development, there are too many unresolved plot details and in the final analysis there were a lot of things that just did not add up. From my viewpoint, the novel seems more like an unfinished melody which lingers on; but then goes nowhere.

The basic premise of the book is powerful and gripping. And it is a shame that by the end of the novel, the reader may not feel satisfied. O'Nan wanted to create an emotional climate which would show and feel how families cope or not with this kind of disappearance. In part, he succeeded...he does leave you asking questions which you will never answer from the writing itself. However, the key problem is that O'Nan leaves you asking questions that should have been addressed and were not. For me, the novel did not come together and left me dissatisfied and looking for more.

For those readers who like open ended novels which leave much to their imagination, then this novel would have the potential to be an outstanding choice. It is all a matter of personal preference.

Three Stars ***

Bentley/2008

I totally agree with you, Bentley. The ending could have tied up the mystery's loose ends and made the reader close the book satisfied.  (Perhaps one of the earlier characters introduced in the novel being responsible for her disappearance, maybe a drug deal gone bad and Kim in the wrong place at the wrong time before heading out to work that fateful day, which would in turn leave out the anonymous, weird psychic/lady who never gave up her search for a complete stranger...) The book WAS well written; the story captured the attention of the reader -- you wanted to continue reading to see what would happen in the end -- but, unfortunately, the conclusion was disappointing.
 
For the writing style and interest generated at the beginning of the book, I will give it Three Stars as well.
 
***
Leisa


Message Edited by LeisaPS on 06-30-2008 08:37 AM
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flyjo9
Posts: 140
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

I thought I had already posted a review, but as it turns out?
I think this is a 3 star book.  Although there were some compelling moments, I felt the book lacked suspense.
I also thought that the family dynamics were odd - the father and younger daughter being more sympathetic.  I could surmise that the mother handled grief by getting over-involved in running things and losing sight of her family's grief.  She did not seem to understand at all that her young daughter needed her emotionally and this remained the case until the end.
A big questionmark for me was the relationship of Kim's friends.Something was eluding me and I am not sure what it was but I thought there needed to be more explanation of what the friends actually withheld.
Perhaps it is just me and how I read the book, but I found it rather disappointing.
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flyjo9
Posts: 140
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: UNFINISHED MELODY

I absolutely agree !  Thank you for that insight.  Joan
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kanellio65
Posts: 26
Registered: ‎02-05-2008
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Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

I gave SONGS FOR THE MISSING 2 Stars.

The book was just good enough to put my time in to read but disappointing at the end. The story of how a teenage daughter winds up missing is not an unfamiliar one. However, Stewart O'Nan's style of writing was not one that all readers, including myself, are fond of. The fact that there was so much put into each character and their build up was commendable to a point but than it seemed like it went a little overboard. When Kim Larson is first described, the book starts off well but then begins to drag as we meet more and more characters that continually have something about them that we are left to wonder about. It confused me. I think that is fine and makes for good reading if at SOME point, the things we don't know about them are at least revealed or connected in some way. If not, we "think" we know what the characters are like but never find out and can leave the reader frustrated.

When Kim shows up missing, the reaction of family and friends is not unusual to what one might expect but again the hints about some secrets that might help them find her are never explained so at the end, the reader is still left hanging.

Around page 100 just when I was ready to give up, I got caught up in the story and thought that there might be a resolution. But again, more teases are thrown in about what may have happened and certain characters when BAM!....suddenly the ending comes along with little to no explanation. I felt like Mr. O'Nan was in a hurry to finish the book and didn't explain enough about the kidnapper. I am all for wondering if he really did do it, but there was so little information about him, that who would know...or care? If I am to be left hanging about a novel, I want to have some good sound facts given to argue my case on what I thought happened and this novel just didn't do that.

I have read other novels of this author that I liked much more than this one. However, there are people who may love this style of writing and if that is your taste, more power to you. Thank you, however, Mr. O'Nan and Barnes and Noble for making this book available to us.
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juliejon
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

5 stars..intriguing, compelling and thought provoking.  One cannot help but wonder about our own sense of songs that are sung for our missing...
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dghobbs
Posts: 133
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

Rating: Five Stars

This is a fascinating novel. As with all novels written by Stewart O'Nan the writing is extraordinary and Literate, at times even lyrical. As a parent, I must admit this is a difficult novel, and therefore engrossing. It is every parent's worst nightmare. You really want to know what is going to happen. Doug
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Ladyhawk
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎10-03-2007
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Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

Great book for the lovers of crime novels!
 
I love to read crime novels, but I have never thought of how the family deals with the crime that has happened.  This book does that for you.
 
You go on a journey with the family and I really "missed" them when the book ended.  I know that I will definitely have more empathy for families of the victims.
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jobrech
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎04-20-2008
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Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

3 stars
 
A families worst nightmare
 
     Songs for the Missing was about a teenager that disappeared one day. The story goes through the emotions of her family and friends, trying to find answers to the wheres and whys.
     I'm not fond of this type of story, it's all to real these days, though I seemed compelled to read this without putting it down till I was finished.
     The story was well written, making you feel as though you were a part of it, at times wanting to lash out because there were no answers.
     I did not care for it because it left me wanting to know more. It skimmed on the people and then didn't finish their story.  I felt disappointed by the lack of carry-through
 
Reader 2
mabky
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

                 Vanishing Act
 
 
I give this book 3 stars.  It's not great, but there are great parts within.  I think Mr. O'Nan males the reader think about unfortunate things that do happen in this  world.  I really believe he captured the feelings of the people left with a missing loved one.  I also believe that ending it the way he did makes it more believable.I know I usally like my reading tied up neatly, but sometimes things left to the imagination work out best.
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aidansmama05
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎04-10-2008
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Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

I loved the idea of this book, but I just could not get into it no matter how hard I tried. 1 star
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rosemaryb
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎12-14-2007
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Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

I give this book 4 stars.

Songs for the Missing was a book I could not put down. Stewart O'Nan knows how to pull the reader into the story, invite him in for a visit, and make him relunctant to leave. The story is told by several of the characters in the book giving you a realistic look at how each person deals with the sudden disappearance of Kim Larson. You feel the mother's pain, the father's frustration, the sister's withdrawal, and the friends' guilt. Where is she and what can they do to find her? Although we get a glimpse of Kim's life before she disappears, this is really the story of her family, friends, and her community. O'Nan is a genius in drawing a realistic picture of the family and how they deal with the situation. He never ever gives away all the details. But rather moves the story along as he passes it back and forth between the characters. Perhaps, Kim's sister Lindsey is the one who must change the most during the tale. At the beginning of the book, she was a somewhat jealous younger sister of the popular, pretty girl in school. By the end of the tale, she has grown into a person who has had to find herself between posting flyers of her missing sibling! A moving story of hope, O'Nan has created a story that is both suspenseful as it is heartbreaking. An exceptional read!
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autumnrose
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎04-19-2008
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Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

[ Edited ]

4 stars ****

A Haunting Tale

Songs for the Missing is about a teenaged girl who goes missing, and the struggle of her family, friends, and community to deal with grief, fear and the unknown. The story belongs, ultimately, not to Kim but to those she left behind.

I found the characters to be very relatable. I could see myself in all of them, and even when I didn't agree with the decisions they made, I understood why they made them. I do wish their feelings and characters could have been explored more fully, but with so many characters it would have been quite difficult to do so without getting in the way of the plot.

It was hard for me to read at points, not because it was slow, but because it was so real. If you personally know someone who has gone missing, this will probably be a very hard book for you to read.

There were parts that weren't as developed as I would have liked, and the ending seemed kind of rushed, and not as fulfilling as I had hoped. I would still recommend it, but it's not the kind of book I would reread again and again. That said, I will never forget it.

Recommended: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold



Message Edited by autumnrose on 07-01-2008 12:36 AM
Wordsmith
maude40
Posts: 357
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

3 Stars
 
I kept thinking, How would I handle the same situation?  Very thought provoking. Yvonne
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MelissaW
Posts: 40
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
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Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

I really enoyed reading "Songs for the Missing".  I couldn't put this book down once I started because I was drawn into the lives the characters and I wanted to see what happened next to them.  There aren't many authors that are able to capture my attention and hold it the way that Stewart O'Nan did with this book. 

I give this book a 4 star rating.

Reader 2
starqlty
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎10-07-2007
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A "Song" I should've passed on...

I give this book 2 stars although I did think about giving it just one.

I felt that O'nan is a good writer, but found the book slow, not engaging, and lacking in plot. So many things were eluded to that never got explained to the reader, which I found really annoying. I did think it was an interesting look at how every individual reacts differently to a tragedy, but it felt rather more like a case study than a novel. If I want psychological case studies, I'll read the DSM.

I just finished reading "You're Lucky You're Funny" by Phil Rosenthal, the producer of Everybody Loves Raymond. A great look into the business of writing for TV and how it all comes together. Funny as well as informative.
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