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My Abandonment Paperback – Bargain Price, 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 the Audio CD edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
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.
Indeed, it's Caroline's curiosity that leads to her discovery. Authorities rout her and her father from their makeshift home. They are whisked off to be cleaned, tested, evaluated, and ultimately sent to live and work on a farm. They are told how lucky they are, to be given so much, and for a while even Caroline's father seems content. But his illness takes hold of him once again, and he insists they abandon their new home and try to stake a claim in the wilderness again.
Things begin to fall apart from there. Caroline and her father are eventually separated again -- once and for all, in a horrible way -- and this leaves Caroline the freedom to remember her early life, before her father claimed her from her "foster parents." She journeys to her old neighborhood and finds her younger sister, whom she hopes to take with her, so she can teach the girl her way of life. When concerned citizens notice Caroline, alone and hurt, she flees before they can take her away from her life in the wild.
The book doesn't have a nicely wrapped-up, "happy" ending, and I admired that.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is amazing! The author is a word smith. The book written by the girl's perspective is brilliant and very well done. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Gorilla Decals
Great narration & excellent writing but I did find the story quite depressing!Published 1 month ago by Cliff Knecht
Brilliant, disturbing, claustrophobic. I think the near-genius of this novel can be inferred by the wide-ranging reviews it has inspired. Read morePublished 6 months ago by barb small
Thirteen year old Caroline is secretly living with her father on a nature preserve in Portland, Oregon. Read morePublished 6 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 11 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 12 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 16 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 18 months ago by storyteller