The Local News

by Jacquelyn Lewis

A first novel explores themes of love, loss, and family.

In her first novel, writer Miriam Gershow powerfully explores themes of love, longing, family, friendship, and loss, from the perspective of a young woman who hasn’t recovered from the disappearance of her brother more than 10 years earlier.

It’s a timely subject, one we can’t avoid seeing splashed across today’s news, gossip sites, and episodes of CSI. Kids get taken; they disappear, they die, and we read/watch/learn all too much about it—how they died, and where, and when, and who did it. What we don’t often learn about is what happens to the families left to pick up the pieces after a child reaches an untimely (or uncertain) end. That’s what Gershow delves into in this book.

Narrator Lydia Pasternak was 16 when her brother Danny vanished. She was also everything he wasn’t—she was the socially awkward geek next to his happy, shiny, cool kid. Their relationship was fraught with youthful complexities; though they got along as children, Danny had begun to torment Lydia in high school, making her feel an odd sense of relief when he disappeared. Forced to remember the bad old days at a 10-year high school reunion, Lydia reflects on the days surrounding her brother’s disappearance with a mix of blunt honesty and wry humor. As a writer, Gershow succeeds in creating a likable character struggling with big-time family issues. Does Lydia ever learn what became of her brother? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

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