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Random House LLC
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The Gone Away Place Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
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Much of the book is very well done and touching. The grieving process is shown, and the survivor's guilt, and the way it would feel to be expected to go to a long string of funerals, and how a family that survived would work together to get better. Ellie fought with her boyfriend right before the tornadoes struck her town, which is why she wasn't with the rest of her friends, and that is a horrible thing to have had happen, and Ellie has to learn to live with that.
The part of this book I thought was less well done is the ghosts. The town becomes filled with ghosts, that some people see and others don't, of the dead. This isn't a bad idea for a story, but it feels like it should have either been taken further or left out. The ghosts do give a way to hear the stories of the dead, but I am never quite sure if they are meant to be real, or just a very vivid illustration of grief. They seem real enough, but that kind of jars with the very realistic tone of the rest of the book. It's like reading a textbook on disaster, death and grief that matter-of-factly included ghosts. The story could have been just as strong, in my eyes, with Ellie learning some of the stories of her friends from their surviving family.
However, I do think many will find this book compelling and very readable. The author is a good writer, and he is skilled at showing that people are complex---not all good or bad (with the exception maybe of Ellie's boyfriend Noah, who is rather saintly). I do think the book is worth a read, especially if you are interested in natural disasters and how people react to and recover from them.