#527 The Missing Girl by Norma Fox Mazer

The Missing Girl by Norma Fox MazerThe Missing Girl by Norma Fox Mazer

Child abduction is no easy topic. It happens. Sometimes the children are recovered. Sometimes the children are murdered. Sometimes the children are kept for years and years later resurfacing as someone unrecognizable to their family.

In the good cases of child abduction, if there are any, the child is only gone for a few days. In this story there are five sisters. Their last name is Herbert. They live in a small town called Mallory. They walk to school. The oldest is named Beauty, but there is also Fancy, Faithful, Mim, and Autumn, being the youngest. They each have their trials in life. Their home life isn’t very easy, but it’s not terrible either. Beauty, the oldest, wants nothing more than to leave her family that gave her such a stupid name, because Beauty is not in fact beautiful. She’s on the plain side. Faithful, renames herself Stevie and gets a boyfriend. Fancy is considered special needs. Mim is the calm one of the family, but finds herself liking someone she doesn’t know how to approach. Autmun is the youngest and often gets shuffled around.

The story progresses, but it’s evident that one of the voices telling the story isn’t coming from within the family. One of the voices is coming from a man. This man watches the girls. He likes each for various reasons. He makes excuses to drive by their bus stop. He eventually picks one out.

The thing is that he doesn’t have to go out and grab the girl, she comes to him. It’s simpler than he thought, but it turns out the girl he picks out is also more resourceful than anyone could have imagined.

What I liked

This book is pretty unique in the fact that it’s told from not one or two point of views, but six, and one of those is a child predator. We get to see the turmoil in the family and where every girl is left in the midst of it, but we also get to see this outside force that comes down to prey upon the family. No matter what may be going on in a family to cause strife there can always be an outside force that can make it even worse.

I first started reading this book because the family name was Herbert. I have some Herbert ancestry and don’t really hear the name much of anywhere else. There was a Lord Herbert in England at one point in British History, but I have no idea if that’s still a position there or not. Herbert isn’t a common name. Each of the family members has an unusual first name to go with their last name. The parents are named Blossom and Huddle. Who is named Huddle? No one I ever knew.

What I didn’t like

This story has potential to be something that appeals to a lot of people. It’s definitely fairly unique in its approach to have part of the story be told from the point of view of the child predator. I can see this book being geared up a bit to appeal more to an adult audience rather than a YA audience. A more mature version of this book could have more from each of the sisters. More struggles for them. More insights. As it is, the book doesn’t have that and sometimes we are left to wonder why some of the characters arrive at the decisions they arrive at.

Fancy is the only girl in this family considered “special needs,” but honestly, I think Autumn is that way as well. She’s the youngest and obviously isn’t going to act as mature as the other sisters, but Autumn doesn’t think right. What someone else could discern, she cannot. She put herself in the situation she found herself in. Even when we’re reading the story from Autumn’s point of view things slow down. She’s just not as quick as the other girls. This goes to show a person that A) you should watch all your children for mental and learning disabilities and B) children can get themselves into trouble even after you teach them the way to go.

I’m glad that things turned out ok, but I kind of want to smack the girl who got herself abducted and ask her what in the heck is wrong with her. What was she thinking? Seriously? How many times have we told you not to talk to strangers?

Overall

You never know who is watching from down the street.

Weigh in

Do you feel that the parents of the girls could have been more involved with their lives?

After considering the plot of this book, is it a good idea to ever release child predators? Do you believe they can ever be rehabilitated?

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