Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Correspondent
detailmuse
Posts: 180
Registered: ‎01-24-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

As Seen on TV

3 Stars

What if a small-town girl, in the summer before she goes off to college, were to disappear? Stewart O'Nan's answer: Songs for the Missing, an exploration of the effects of such a disappearance on the girl's family, friends, and northern-Ohio community.

Songs is a series of markedly distant, third-person narratives (alternating among the girl's family and friends) that at times feel omniscient or even fly-on-the-wall. The style evokes the familiar television news coverage of similar real-life cases, and for me, permitted a mostly intellectual (vs emotional) connection with the characters. While I can make assumptions about their emotions and motivations, I read in order to develop new understandings -- by exploring the familiar very deeply, or by encountering a surprising, altogether unfamiliar perspective. While Songs was a pleasant read -- the first third provided an interesting documentary, the second a more emotional story, and the third a sudden and too-tidy wrap-up -- in the end, I came away with little new from the experience.

Distinguished Wordsmith
Carmenere_lady
Posts: 529
Registered: ‎11-05-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

Stewart O'Nan stays true to his writing style in Songs for the Missing.  As in previous O'Nan novels he is very capable of capturing life in the early 21st century.  Often, as in Songs, the times in which we live are not always pleasant but O'Nan draws a picture of this life and inserts very real characters.  People like we've seen on television, people very much like us.  We are drawn into their emotions concerning a very tragic event and explore how these very life like people change/grow over a span of time.  How their emotions see them through and connect with others.  Songs is not so much about a child gone missing but the emotional effects it has on the people closest to that child.
 
I enjoy O'Nan's style and I give it a 5.
 
The content of this novel is not very pleasurable nor meant to be.  It is a story that must be told however because there is something more substantial to the people these events happen too and are not just sound bites from the evening news.  Their pain does not cease when you change the channel and for that I give it a 3. 
Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
kbc
Contributor
kbc
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

My rating:  5 stars
 
Headline:  Some things remain unknown
 
Review:  I
kbc
Contributor
kbc
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

My rating:  5 stars
 
Headline:  Some things remain unknown
 
Review:  I really
kbc
Contributor
kbc
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

Sorry, hit the wrong button too quickly.
 
My rating:  5 stars
 
Headline:  Worst fears come true
 
Review:  I really enjoyed this book.  I found it hard to put down although it seemed to drag a little in the middle.  I liked how you got to see how each person handled Kim's disappearance from their own perspective rather than one character narrating the entire story.  Some of the characters I liked, others I didn't but yet I still respected them and their feelings.  This was my first Stewart O'Nan book but it will not be my last.
 
Karen
Reader 2
Carolyn228
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

I give this book 5 stars. I think O'Nan did a wonderful job of letting the reader into the head of each character as their view of the story was told. For those readers disappointed at the lack of closure at the end of the story, I felt that O'Nan did that intentionally, to leave the reader feeling that same sense of emotional loss or emptiness that the characters would be feeling at the time. This isn't a story that has a nice pat ending...the journey for everyone is ongoing. The personal journey of each character was fascinating to watch unfold. Can't wait to read more of his works.
New User
xombie
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎04-13-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

Songs For The Missing - 3 stars
 
Have you ever wondered what you would do if your child, sibling, lover, friend or neighbour went missing?

Songs For The Missing is the latest novel from, multiple award-winning writer, Stewart O'Nan. In this novel, you will find out exactly how a small town in Midwestern USA deals with the disappearance of a local high school girl. Kim Larsen begins the narrative while going through her daily life. This sets up a very good look at the relationships she has with family and friends and gives us a glimpse into her hopes and ambitions for the future. But suddenly with no forewarning, Kim simply vanishes.

From here on out the book is told from the perspectives of certain family members and friends. From the viewpoint of her parents, we come to understand how they feel while learning and undergoing the various ways to handle a missing child. Particularly interesting is the encounters they have with local police and FBI officials, both parents must reluctantly put their trust into these people to guide them while also trying to have faith that officials are doing as much as they can possibly do. From organizing search parties, printing posters and contacting online organizations, these parents give a detailed plan that would be valuable to any parent going through this themselves.

However, as upsetting as Kim's disappearance may be to her parents, her younger sister Lindsay appears to be the emotional center of the book. Although the two sisters are not all that close it becomes clear in Lindsay's narration that her older sister is the hero she strives to emulate. Throughout the novel Lindsay's guilt, love and bitterness towards her sister are revealed. Although Songs For The Missing is about a missing girl, it is obvious that this is merely a plot line devised to showcase Lindsay and how her life must change and evolve while suffering the loss and unknowable circumstances of her older sister.

To fulfill the thriller aspect of the novel, O'Nan has thrown in some sketchy characters to build suspicion and a secret between Kim and her friends that is not revealed when she is initially reported missing, but that builds tension between the characters throughout the story.

Songs For The Missing is a emotionally charged story that anyone can relate to which creates a wonderful drama, however the mystery portion seems to falter towards the ending. From the climax, the plot needed to have gradually wound down, tying up the loose ends in a neater way to add a more powerful ending. Overall a very good read, that has prompted me to search out previous works by Stewart O'Nan.

xombie (Joanne)

Inspired Contributor
Bearsstar
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎01-30-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

5 stars ~~~Outstanding~~~
 
Gone but never forgotten
 
I feel Songs For The Missing will be (or should I say IS) a great book.  From the time Kim disappeared, through the family and towns disbelief; shock; loss, helplessness, anger, the searches, then acceptance, to the "perceptions and remembrances" was riveting.  I personally went through the whole gamut of emotions right along with them, to the final acceptance that Kim was gone and would never come "bouncing" home again.  
 
Mr. O'Nan wrote this book as though it were a real missing young woman with lots of unanswered questions, and feelings, in the day to day living of those who knew and loved Kim and are the survivors.  As in real life, lives were dramatically and forever changed.  Sometimes events happen with no rhyme nor reason that will never make any sense. 
 
Thank you Mr. O'Nan and First Look, for letting me read Songs For The Missing.  Having young grand daughters, it reminds me again just how quickly and suddenly they too could just "disappear" whether through their own volition or at the hand of others.     
Jeanne G aka Bearsstar
Contributor
Broomgirl
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

I give this read three stars.
 
Very easy reading.  The story starts strong enough, but the ending was choppy or rushed.  I was also left feeling unfulfilled by the ending.  It started with a strong thriller element, but than got confused in the middle. 
The end was not worthy of the beginning. 
 
Three stars.
Reader 2
cjwedding
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

Right There
 
Four Stars
 
I really liked this book.  There were times I felt like I was right there with the characters.  Thank you for writing such a compelling story about one of every mom's worst fears.  Thank you also for sharing this book with the first look club.
Contributor
pjmanley41
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎04-11-2008
0 Kudos

Left Behind

4-stars -- Recommended

headline : Left Behind


This was a page turner. You can't put it down until you find out what happens to the people left behind when a teenage girl goes missing the summer before college. It's a story about the parents, sibling and friends. What do you do when you child goes missing? What can you do? What about the simple secrets of teenagers? Do they take on a much more sinister character now? What do you do with anger, frustration and despair?

This was a easy if disturbing read. It reminds everyone that when something like this happens it's the ones left behind that have to find a way forward. I recommend it.
Frequent Contributor
kanellio65
Posts: 26
Registered: ‎02-05-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

SONGS FOR THE MISSING---Something Missing with this book!
2 Stars

Although Stewart O'Nan's book SONGS FOR THE MISSING gives the hope and impression of a fast paced, highly anticipated read, it falls short. Instead, the readers are the ones who will find themselves missing...missing out on a better book.

Kim Larsen, preparing to enter college, goes missing the summer before she is to leave. The story introduces Kim and her friends' characters fairly well and also leaves little clues of what secrets they may hold. Remember, however, clues are meant to hopefully lead to an eventual answer. These do not. Kim's family, with parents Fran and Ed, are described well and the book really spends a great deal of its time on their reactions and what they do as they try to find Kim. Also, almost as a side story is the sister, Lindsay, who is trying to be a person on her own, rather just than "Kim's little sister".

O'Nan writes in detail of how both parents go about dealing with trying to find their daughter in their own way. Unless one has been through such a tragic event, it is close to impossible to judge how one should act or feel. And yet, as the reader, one's common sense tends to find some of the parents actions questionable. We see how the parents feel about Kim and all her friends including the boyfriend but are never quite satisfied with any of the open-ended questions especially as many are never answered. It is this kind of writing that leads the reader to find it hard to engage themselves with these characters and the story.

In many of O'Nan's other books like LAST NIGHT AT THE LOBSTER, we are entertained and satisfied with his writing. Unfortunately, I was not with SONGS FOR THE MISSING. I expected so much more and just when I thought I would give up on reading the book, it did pull me back in with hopes of what I might find out, but those hopes were quickly dashed. As I read through to the end of the book, I was left flat and sorry as I felt the end was rushed and had more time been spent in tying up loose ends, the book could have worked better. I am sure there are some who could find symbolism and comparisons of character studies, but I don't like to have to work quite that hard to read a novel. Thank you for the opportunity at least to try. Good luck with the next book!

Other books I like: A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Lovely Bones, and The Last Lecture
New User
villagespin
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎04-11-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

This novel explores the disappearance of a daughter, friend, and sister and how the uncertainty and absence affect those who loved her. The author uses language beautifully and captures emotions and scenes remarkably. At times the story rambles as characters are introduced but not completely developed. The story is at its strongest when the youngest sister Lindsay reflects on her relationship with her older sister and struggles to gain her independence and identity after Kim disappears. Each character reacts differently to the loss of Kim and the author clearly researched and communicated realistic reactions to such a devastating event.


4 stars.
Contributor
readerbynight
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎09-07-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Your reviews of Songs for the Missing

[ Edited ]
Deeply felt, non-sensationalized, family strengths and weaknesses

I give this book 5 stars

Songs for the Missing was a very well-written book following the story not of the missing young girl but of her family and friends. The disappearance, the loss, the helplessness, the hope, the eventual acceptance, all are there and we live it with them. It is a book about relationships as well. Every step was believable. Having been through sudden emotional trauma myself (albeit not the same trauma), I know that as time passes and you start to notice the rest of the world, it's a tremendous shock to find out that you have been going at one pace while the rest of the world has gone on much faster and carried on without you. I could feel some of this through various stages of the book. Many people are not aware of this feeling until something happens in their own lives. The discoveries about the girl herself, the maturing of her younger sister, the distance then closeness in the family members are all in the book. I don't think any part was missed in this book and I highly recommend it. It is not the type of book you get to read very often. You don't get the feeling of sensationalism, only the feeling that you are one of the participants. However, for me the ending seemed like it was just trying to close loose ends of the various characters. Did I enjoy it? Yes, for the writing and for its honesty.

Message Edited by readerbynight on 07-10-2008 10:33 AM

Message Edited by readerbynight on 07-10-2008 10:35 AM
Frequent Contributor
judycarr
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎12-12-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

I'm glad to see that readers are still posting on this book because I have needed to do some thinking about it before I did! 
 
I found the first nine-tenths of the book absolutely gripping, beautifully writtin and realisitic beyond belief.  I literally tossed and turned one night while I was in the early chapters after the disappearance because I was so disturbed.  I found  myself wondering how a family really does cope with this......I am a huge Without a Trace fan and I started looking at the people that they put on a the break that are missing in a whole new way.  This book has made me much more aware of the frustrations, hopelessness and challanges of these situations. 
 
HOWEVER, I did not like the ending,  I felt the author lost his steam and the ending just seemed to me like he was tired, gotta wrap this up and move on. I am sorry to say that the ending, the abruptness of Kims being found, just took away my enthusiasm for the whole book. 
 
I do love this process however.  This is my third First Look and one of these days I am going to write with wholehearted enthusiasm and no BUTS!
 
It's a pleasure to be among so many readers!
Judy
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

Net: 4 stars, but.

Title: A Challenge to Rate

This book is difficult to rate. Although it is fictional, it is based on an amalgamation of actual situations, and reads more like a true life report than a novel. The beginning is gripping and seizes the reader, but from the middle on it flags and drifts away from the excitement of a suspense novel into the reality of a family finding a way to go on going on despite the absence and presumed death of the elder daughter. The ending, though apparently based on something that actually happened, seems contrived and rushed.

A reader looking for a traditional mystery will find this disappointing. There is no real resolution, and the reader looking for a story with a beginning, middle, and end will leave the book confused and dissatisfied. For this reader, the book is rated 3, and is only saved from being a 2 by being very well written.

However, the author is most deliberately not looking for a reader wanting a traditional mystery. Rather, the author has written a book for readers who appreciate ambiguity, who understand that real life doesn't resolve itself comfortably, who value the close examination of of the dynamics of a family, family members, and a small, close knit community faced with an event which shocks them out of their comfortable, routine lives. For such readers, the book is a delight, and deserves a full five star rating.

But since one cannot give both a three and a five star rating to the same book, one settles on the average and hopes that readers using this review will appreciate what they want in a book and therefore whether this is a good book for them.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Reader 2
DJLunchlady91404
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎12-16-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

5 Stars - Hooked
 
I have almost no time to read anymore and when i was able to find a babysitter today thats all I wanted to do. I grabbed Songs For The Missing by: Stewart O'Nan and sat down in the sun. After the first page I was instantly hooked and couldn't put the book down. For some reason I felt compelled to relate with Kim's family and Friends. I stayed up all night reading and finished the book. I loved it so much and I'm almost disappointed that the book is done.
 
Books I would recommend : Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Inspired Contributor
Jo6353
Posts: 683
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

Four stars for this Songs of the Missing

A Parent's Worst Nightmare

What would you do if your teenager went missing? How would you react?
In Songs for the Missing Stewart O'Nan tells a compelling story from the perspective of the victims friends and family. I would definitely recommend this novel.
Contributor
Brach12
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎12-23-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

I give the book 3 stars. This is my first Stewart O'Nan book and I'm not sure if I would read another.  The book was easy to follow along and it did make me feel a myriad of feelings but it was uncomfortable to read especially being a mother.  I'm sure there are readers who enjoy this type of book  but it wasn't for me.  Thank You.
Distinguished Wordsmith
MSaff
Posts: 272
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Your Reviews of Song for the Missing

4 Stars
 
Captivating read
 
I enjoyed reading Stewart O'Nan's newest book, Songs for the Missing.  There were moments of powerful imagery, and times of quiet reflection. Readers will be drawn to Kim's family and friends as they deal with their emotions. It made me think about the families we see all to often on the news, and the steps they take to locate a missing child.
 
Mike
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
http://travelswithcarsandbooks.blogspot.com/
Top Kudoed Authors
User Kudos Count
1
Users Online
Currently online: 4 members 372 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: