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My Abandonment Paperback – April 2, 2010
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A thirteen-year-old girl and her father live in Forest Park, an enormous nature preserve in Portland, Oregon. They inhabit an elaborate cave shelter, wash in a nearby creek, store perishables at the water's edge, use a makeshift septic system, tend a garden, even keep a library of sorts. Once a week they go to the city to buy groceries and otherwise merge with the civilized world. But one small mistake allows a backcountry jogger to discover them, which derails their entire existence, ultimately provoking a deeper flight. Inspired by a true story and told through the startlingly sincere voice of its young narrator, Caroline, My Abandonment is a riveting journey into life at the margins and a mesmerizing tale of survival and hope.
A Q&A with Peter Rock, Author of My Abandonment
(Photo © Ella Vining)
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Ultimately, however, something about the book felt shallow. Probably much of that has to do with the narration being covered entirely by Caroline (the 13 year old daughter). I imagine it is difficult to inhabit the mind and voice of a 13 year old girl, and the book probably does as well as it can with that. But done well, the perspective of a 13 year old girl is necessarily limited. Caroline is smart and precocious, but she is also isolated and naive. Though that makes sense in the context of the story, it left me moderately disappointed as a reader. The possible themes embedded in the book felt as though they deserved something a bit more sophisticated. Similarly, at the end of the book the story line accelerates suddenly--both through remembrances and new events. I won't give away the story, but that acceleration also made the story feel a bit shallow--as if the author only decided on how to frame the first part of the book after writing it.
Overall, My Abandonment is worth the quick read. It raises subtle and interesting questions through an intriguing story about contemporary society and its conventions. But the book itself felt to me as if it could have gone deeper with those questions.
Caroline and her father are bound together by their love for each other and the need to protect their lifestyle on the fringe of a society that considers them homeless. Caroline and Father are actually very much at home in the wilderness in which they live so happily. Father protects her, teaches her, keeps her healthy, and makes her self-reliant. Caroline is in her element with Father; she is happy and understands him completely.
Father is a war veteran, (which war is never really revealed but I sensed Vietnam). He is suffering from severe social anxiety and paranoia, perhaps symptomatic of post traumatic stress disorder, but his survival instincts are mighty and his devotion to Caroline's well being is his life, his mission.
He instills in Caroline wisdom, spirit and an insatiable hunger for freedom. He teaches her that "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours. He will pass an invisible boundary."
Father is a great reader and into a notebook he carries with him at all time compulsively copies notes from his favorite writers: Emerson, Thoreau and Rousseau. In the same notebook he writes back at what he copied.Read more ›
And yet all is not well in paradise; Dad is just a tad TOO suspicious...it becomes apparent that this is not just an "alternative lifestyle" choice, but a life fraught with fear and mounting paranoia. He suffers from terrible nightmares and even waking flashbacks from the war he served in, centering on helicopters, a sign of PTSD. In forest park, they are super-careful not to get caught; one gets a sense of paranoia already from the start. They do venture out into town in order to pick up his disability checks at the P.O., and to get groceries, but with elaborate preparations to avoid attention and detection.
Caroline seems well-adjusted, a brave, smart little lady: 14 years old, on the brink of young-womanhood, having lived as a jungle child the past four years. From her father she learns the lessons of a hidden life; from herself she learns to be resourceful, growing her own hidden vegetable garden to supplement their diet. She seems totally devoted to her dad, yet she has a burning curiosity about the life beyond their sheltered world among the trees.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brilliant, disturbing, claustrophobic. I think the near-genius of this novel can be inferred by the wide-ranging reviews it has inspired. Read morePublished 3 months ago by barb small
Thirteen year old Caroline is secretly living with her father on a nature preserve in Portland, Oregon. Read morePublished 3 months ago by EpicFehlReader
Just finished it last night and have already given it to a friend...if that's not an endorsement, I don't know what is. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Michael Rosenberg
I'm not sure a child 10 yrs of age that had parents for 10 yrs would believe a man that said he was her Father and that her parents had adopted her. Read morePublished 8 months ago by gypsyartist
As good as you can expect for a book written by a man in the voice of a 12 year old girl.Published 13 months ago by RationalConsumer
My Abandonment by Peter Rock tells the story of Caroline, a 13 year old girl and her father, living in self made camps in Forest Park, a large nature preserve near Portland,... Read morePublished 15 months ago by storyteller
Even though this story is based on a true experience, it was depressing and hard to get through. We started reading it in a work book group and the feeling was pretty mutual.Published 16 months ago by Leslie Johnson
I found this book to be pretty fascinating, and really liked that the story idea came from an actual event that was similar in nature. Well written.Published on April 18, 2014 by Jessica Burns
This book really tore at my heart. I was totally into it from the first page. Very intense at times and had to go get a Kleenex for my tears.Published on November 13, 2013 by Vivyan Wagner