Even though I have alredy sent this, I am updating for my Best of 2009 list, and this review goes along with Jennie Shortridge's WHEN SHE FLEW:
Both of these are based on the true story of the father and pre-teen daughter who lived off the grid in Portland’s Forest Park for four years but each author treats the story a little differently. Rock’s story is told in an almost surreal and disassociated manner and Shortridge delivers more of an emotional punch. Both are interesting and would be great for book groups.
If you want to read more of what I previously wrote:
Update: Again, I really wish they had .5 stars because this really does fall in between 4 and 5 stars.
In 2004 a man and his 12-year-old daughter were found living in Portland's Forest Park and had been doing so for 4 years. The girl was clean, well-fed, and well-educated, but they were forced to leave. A police officer found them housing and work on a horse farm in Yamhill County but five days later they disappeared, never to be heard from again.
The author, a writing professor at Reed College has written a novel based on this event and the first half is based on their life in Forest Park. In the second half of the book, he imagines what happened to them after they left the horse farm. This took a strange little twist and some of the girl's experiences didn't seem quite realistic (I won't say more for fear of a spoiler) but for the most part I found it fascinating.
One weird event happened for me, though. This past week I was attending the library conference while also trying to finish the book. When I neared the end of the story, the girl in the story described the Sisters Library to a T and also mentioned the librarian's name, which was Peg. Well, Peg was the actual librarian at the Sisters Library AND was also at the conference! I was able to show her the passage and she got really excited. Stranger than fiction...