Ciao, amici! Last week, Harmony Kent released her new novel, The Vanished Boy. If you didn’t see the hype surrounding it, you can see her talking about it here.
I’d seen snippets as she was drafting it and couldn’t wait to read it. So, naturally, when it came out, I devoured it. In less than 24 hours. It was every bit as good as I expected. Nah. Scratch that. It was better. My thoughts are below.
A Parent’s Worst Nightmare—Far Better in the Pages of a Book than in Person
If you’re going to experience the abject horror of waking to find your child is missing, it’s far better to do so in the pages of a book than in real life. Yet somehow, Harmony Kent managed to make me live the misery along with main character Carole as though I was suffering the agony myself. No small feat, I assure you. But my heart is still racing.
Bad enough Carole is a widow; she only has one child. Facing the possibility of that loss doesn’t mean her family is again shrinking—it means it’s ending. Any mother would stop at nothing to find her missing child, but a mother in that situation? It’s no wonder she went to the lengths she did. She sunk to emotional and psychological lows most people could never recover from. She also managed feats of pure strength only a determined mother could. This was truly a brilliant character study of a woman at her breaking point… no, stretched far past. I won’t post a spoiler and say whether she ultimately managed to rebound nor will I say what happens to her son. I want readers to experience that reveal for themselves. And the story is well worth reading for the answer to that mystery. The plot is well-paced, the clues expertly laid, and the reveal shocking (even though I saw it coming). But for me, and perhaps it’s because I’m a mother of two colleges-aged kids, it’s the mother’s journey that spoke to me from the first word to the last.
The author’s note discusses the theme of isolation because of online relationships, and how easy it is for parents to lose track of what their kids are doing. She’s so right. I can only hope this novel is read by parents far and wide and those who need to are able to learn some valuable lessons from it. This one earned an easy, though still pulse-pounding, five stars from me.
If you’ve read it already, I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you haven’t but still want to talk about it, I’d love that, too. The comment box is waiting below. Saluti!