Thursday, February 26, 2009

Truly entertaining summer read

Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst

I don't watch reality television--ever. Oddly enough, this is the third novel I've read featuring reality television, and Lost and Found is unquestionably the best of the three. As noted above, it isn't the most original concept. What makes the novel such a pleasure to read is Parkhurst's excellent execution.

The novel takes opens in the middle of the eponymous reality show, Lost and Found. It's very much like the Amazing Race with a few twists here and there. Teams of two travel the world decifering clues on a globe-trotting scavenger hunt. The twosomes include brothers, reunited high-school sweethearts, formerly gay born-again Christians, grown-up child stars looking for a comeback, etc. As the game moves from destination to destination, the point of view switches from player to player and even to the host occasionally.

And this is where Parkhurst shines. These characters could easily have been cardboard cutouts. Instead, she imbues a real depth and richness into each of the players. Getting inside the heads of each one just made the unfolding dramas so interesting.

Plus, it was a fun, fast-paced story. All in all, Parkhurst's superior writing makes this a superior and very entertaining summer read. I kept wondering how she would end the novel. When the end finally came, I found myself completely satisfied with the story told. What more could you ask?

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