Wednesday, May 15, 2013

LOST AND FOUND by Carolyn Parkhurst

This novel's title is the name of a scavenger-hunt-type reality show, in which paired contestants have to decipher obscure clues, perform hazardous feats, and make their way to international points of interest.  Each team has to do all this while dragging around sound and camera guys and the various objects that they've had to collect, including a caged parrot.  The narration rotates among about half a dozen contestants.  First, we have the mother/daughter team of Laura and Cassie.  Teen-aged Cassie has recently delivered a child, by herself, in her bedroom, while her mother didn't even know she was pregnant.  Laura is mortified by her own cluelessness, but Cassie has two more secrets:  she's a lesbian, and she has told the producers about the baby, and this latter revelation is obviously what won them a spot on the show.  Juliet and Dallas are former child stars and see this competition as a means of resurrecting their careers.  Finally, we have Abby and Justin, both homosexual, but married to one another in a religion-inspired, guilt-infused effort to overcome their true desires.  Then the producers allow the contestants to mix things up, and Cassie chooses Juliet as her new partner, hoping that Juliet will respond to Cassie's crush on her.  Laura then becomes paired with Carl, who came to the show with his brother, who now has Dallas as a partner. This is when new relationships start to percolate, and things get interesting.  I felt a sense of relief, really, because Cassie has become increasingly unreceptive to Laura's attempt to bridge a mile-wide gap between the two of them.  Sometimes a little separation is a good thing.  Alas, Abby and Justin are still together, but trouble lurks when one of their cameramen lures Justin into a trap.  I don't even watch reality TV, except for The Voice, and then I want to fast-forward through the personal histories of the contestants.  I loved this book, though, with its premise that the game actually serves as a vehicle for the characters to sort out their lives.  Their participation is therapeutic for them, and I found their journey to be so entertaining that I would have definitely watched the finished product of this reality series.

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