Another from the New York Times 2014 Notable Books List. Remember Me Like This by Bret Anthony Johnson. Here’s the Amazon blurb:
A gripping novel with the pace of a thriller but the nuanced characterization and deep empathy of some of the literary canon’s most beloved novels, Remember Me Like This introduces Bret Anthony Johnston as one of the most gifted storytellers writing today. With his sophisticated and emotionally taut plot and his shimmering prose, Johnston reveals that only in caring for one another can we save ourselves.
Four years have passed since Justin Campbell’s disappearance, a tragedy that rocked the small town of Southport, Texas. Did he run away? Was he kidnapped? Did he drown in the bay? As the Campbells search for answers, they struggle to hold what’s left of their family together.
Then, one afternoon, the impossible happens. The police call to report that Justin has been found only miles away, in the neighboring town, and, most important, he appears to be fine. Though the reunion is a miracle, Justin’s homecoming exposes the deep rifts that have diminished his family, the wounds they all carry that may never fully heal. Trying to return to normal, his parents do their best to ease Justin back into his old life. But as thick summer heat takes hold, violent storms churn in the Gulf and in the Campbells’ hearts. When a reversal of fortune lays bare the family’s greatest fears—and offers perhaps the only hope for recovery—each of them must fight to keep the ties that bind them from permanently tearing apart.
This is one of those stories that is a nightmare for anybody with children. The worst case scenario come true for the parents and family in this story. It’s a page turner, but there are things that bothered me about it. Some of the negative reviewers on Amazon highlight some of those things. I think this is the best at capturing some of the feelings I had about the book:
It is not because it was written badly, the prose was clear, descriptive, faultless, it just laboured the point. The changing of perspectives from one character to another was interesting, but it became tedious as I really wanted something to happen, anything. It is ok being cerebral, and trying to project how each character feels but a plot needs , some dynamics, some actual interaction,some direct speech.
It’s also one of those stories where there are far too many coincidences that allow the end to arrive the way it does, pleasantly wrapped in a bright red ribbon. I really don’t like books like that.
So, I’m torn on this one. It definitely pulled me along with a very suspenseful story that made me want to keep reading to the end, but along the way, there were moments when I felt manipulated and by the end, well … blah. A good story to read that left me empty at the end. Kind of like eating Chinese food. So, I guess I’ll give it three fortune cookies.