A lot to be found in tale of grief
Lost and Found, by Brooke Davis
Millie is just seven and a half and her father has recently died. She has an acute interest in dead things and keeps a list of the dead things she has seen. The story starts when Millie is abandoned in a large department store by her mother where she stays hidden over several days.
Karl the Touch Typist is grieving for his beloved wife. He comes to the store for a cuppa and meets Millie. Thanks to Karl and a tumbling Manny, Millie manages to dodge the authorities and this unusual trio make their escape.
Agatha Pantha is feisty and continually angry. She hasn’t left her house since the death of her husband and spends her days sitting at the window yelling random insults at passers-by. Then, one day, Agatha makes the snap decision to walk out the door. She walks through the gate and just keeps going until she happens to meet up with the others.
Millie, Karl, Agatha and Manny head off with the purpose of finding Millie’s mum but without any concrete destination. They have many and varied bonding adventures along the way.This is an unlikely but likeable story set in contemporary Western Australia. It is a lightly told story. While easy to read with beautiful flow, it is deep with subtleties and truths. It explores many facets of grief, issues of ageing, as well as the varied nature of relationships.
There are quirky and heart-warming elements, such as Millie constantly leaving notes for her Mum and Karl ‘touch typing’ his passing thoughts and feelings on his thighs.
Eventually, the catalyst for Millie’s abandonment is exposed. It clarifies Millie’s occasional messages of SORRYMUMSORRYMUMSORRYMUMSORRYMUM.
This book was well received by the book club members although death and grieving are not easy or pain-free discussion topics.
While the characters would be difficult for anyone to deal with face to face, they were fully rounded characters. They were also strikingly individual.
Young Millie was depicted as intermittently naïve then wise in a way that seemed unconvincing to some readers but highly plausible and accurate to others.
Overall, Lost and Found is strongly visual and very well written. It would make a powerful and entertaining movie.
Next month’s book is a biography: Proud to be a Wharfie, by Jim Beggs.
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