Saturday, September 24, 2011

Book Review: Once was Lost by Sara Zarr

Once Was Lost
Average rating: 3.70
Pages: 217 pages
Awards: INSPY For Young Adult Fiction (2010)
Okay before I go to my thoughts. Here is the summary available on goodreads.

Samara Taylor used to believe in miracles. She used to believe in a lot of things. As a pastor's kid, it's hard not to buy in to the idea of the perfect family, a loving God, and amazing grace. But lately, Sam has a lot of reason to doubt. Her mother lands in rehab after a DUI and her father seems more interested in his congregation than his family. When a young girl in her small town is kidnapped, the local tragedy overlaps with Sam's personal one, and the already-worn thread of faith holding her together begins to unravel.
In her third novel, acclaimed author Sara Zarr examines the coexistence of affliction and hope, and what happens when everything you thought you believed—-about God, about your family, about yourself—-is transformed.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

My overall thoughts/impressions:

This book is heart-wrenchingly beautiful. I love Sara Zarr’s writing style, characters, and overall thematic elements of her stories. This novel was different that Story of a Girl in a lot of ways. I’m not going to try to compare them. They were both beautiful in different ways.
Sara’s novel is touching, thought-provoking, and above all a good read. I loved reading this book that touches upon the concept of the ‘perfect family.’ Nobody has a perfect family. This book touches upon truths that we all know, but often need to be reminded of.
Sara’s novel follows the story of Sam, the pastor’s daughter. Her mom is in rehab, her dad seems to have time to care for everybody but her, and then a girl is kidnapped from her hometown. Everything around her seems to be falling apart and Sam is having a hard time dealing with it all. She doesn’t know if she believes in miracles anymore. This novel like many other good novels transcends the line of fiction and reality in a way that makes readers place themselves in Sam’s shoes throughout her story.
Some Memorable Quotes/lines: (I chose ones that I like and ones I thought wouldn’t give away the story.)
·         I would like to be somewhere, anywhere, that life feels possible and not smothered under a layer of heat and hopelessness. ~pg 1

·         None of that lasted long. Probably all good memories of the last year add up to three days. ~pg 2

·         I nod. We’ve discussed this. Me being home alone too much, a habit I developed when I started to get afraid to leave mom by herself. But she’s not here now, so. ~pg 6

·         I don’t want to be with people. I don’t want to talk to people. I don’t want to answer questions or pretend to be interested in conversations or activities. ~pg 11

·         “Some day, you’ll know how it feels. There’s a lot of pressure on a woman. Like you have to be camera-ready at all times. It hangs over you constantly, like homework you can’t ever get an A on.” Sam’s mom. ~pg 73

·         It’s just hard, I want to say. The things that happen in your house, with your family are personal. How do you talk about finding the spaghetti in your dinner or the ice cube trays full of water in the towel closet? How do you talk about helping your mom put on her lipstick, so carefully, because her hands are shaking, so that it looks as perfect as she needs it to look before she can face the world. ~pg 106
In summary: A beautifully written book that is both touching and thought provoking.
Warning/Sidenote: This book is incredibly clean. There aren’t any scenes with sexual content and this book doesn’t swear. It does talk about dealing with drinking problems, but that is all.
Wrap-up: This book is definitely one I’d recommend to anybody who is looking for a good read.
Danica Page
Up next: The Secret Rites of Social Butterflies by Lizabeth Zindle.

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