Lost and Found
Publication due in July 2014
Once in every so often, I have the privilege as a reader to discover a book that changes the way I see the world, even if it is only ever so slight a change.
Lost and Found is one such book.
I heard the buzz surrounding this book long before I even read it. Brooke Davis, author of this forthcoming release, is a Perth bookseller and tutored Creative Writing at Curtin University, where she did her PhD. The book, Lost and Found, was written as part of her doctorate. Her journey to publication is nothing short of a fairytale.
Lost and Found begins with a dead dog. One of the three narrators, seven year old Millie Bird, becomes obsessed with death and dying. She starts a book of dead things, never knowing that less than thirty entries away she will be including her father in the list. As a seven year old, Millie struggles to understand the grief that is associated with dying, although she has a mature perspective on the fact that everyone must die at some point.
And so, Millie's father passes away, and Millie and her mother go to a department store to buy some things. Millie's mother asks her to wait by a rack of 'Ginormous women's undies' and Millie does. She waits, and she waits, and she waits. And then she sees a pair of boots she likes on another child and so she wonders off, but not before leaving a note so her mother can find her. But when she comes back to the spot, her mother is not there. And she is not there by the time the store closes. Millie waits in that store for several days before she realises that something has gone very wrong...
With the help of Karl the Touch Typist, Millie evades store security and child services, and makes it to her home. Across the road, a strange and judgemental widow watches out her window, and Millie watches back. Eventually, Agatha Pantha is moved by seeing this little girl on her own that she decides to do something about it.
Millie, Karl and Agatha set out on a road trip to find Millie's runaway mother, but they might just find themselves in the meantime.
Narrated by each of these three characters in turn, Davis showcases a talent for getting inside the head of her highly original characters. She has a reverence for the elderly that comes through in her work. But it is the voice of Millie which really shines; Millie's seven year old questions and her theories of the way the world works are heart-wrenching, funny, and most of all accurate. You will be transported back in time to your own childhood, as Millie describes what it's like to be hugged, getting in trouble, and being abandoned.
While this book has quite serious subject matter, don't be alarmed! Lost and Found writes the dichotomy of living and dying in such a way that is uplifting and frequently funny. Perfect for gifts, book clubs, or for when you want to curl up with a great Australian debut, I urge everyone to read this brilliant book and benefit from it's life and love affirming perspective.