Tuesday, November 6, 2007


I just finished HOW TO BE LOST by Amanda Eyre Ward. HTBL tells the story of Caroline, eldest sister of three daughters. From the outside looking in, it appears that their suburban New York family is perfect - traditional mom and dad, good looks, good money, gorgeous home. But, the walls of their grand home house alcoholism, loneliness and a distinct sadness. When Ellie, the youngest, comes up missing, the already vulnerable family drifts further apart.

Fast forward into adulthood where Caroline has tried to escape her past by running away to New Orleans to work as a cocktail waitress. While visiting home, her mom shows her a picture from a national magazine of someone they both become convinced is her now adult sister. Caroline packs up her life and heads off to find the young woman who in her mind is her sister and the key to solving her family's grief.

The irony of the title adds to the intriguing nature of this story. At first glance, the 'lost' reference immediately puts your mind on Ellie, the missing kid. But you will soon find that almost all of the characters are lost in some way. Some want to remain that way while others are in desperate need to find their way. Sometimes we can want something so bad that we start to neglect our true realities and to ignore the inner voice that guides us safely through life. Ignoring this intuition will leave all of us 'lost' in one way or another.

Ward weaves an amazing tale by mixing narrative, flashbacks and pen-pal letters from an unknown yet important source. This mixture is very loose in the beginning but becomes more and more tightly woven as the story draws to an end. Many of those that are 'lost' start to find their way even before the truth is revealed.

I never wanted to put this book down and in many ways, I needed to hear this story right now in my own life. This book is very touching and endearing and is highly recommended.

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