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Remember Me Like This

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  6,883 ratings  ·  994 reviews
A gripping novel with the pace of a thriller but the nuanced characterization and deep empathy of some of the literary canon’s most beloved novels, Remember Me Like This introduces Bret Anthony Johnston as one of the most gifted storytellers writing today. With his sophisticated and emotionally taut plot and his shimmering prose, Johnston reveals that only in caring for on ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Random House (first published 2014)
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Elyse Walters
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
NEW UPDATE: I saw this book for $2.99 as a Kindle special download today -- and I 'still' remember details after details about this book. Its EXCELLENT!!!!!! Highly recommend it --if you haven't read it. $2.99 is a great price - Read other reviews -- just thought I'd pass this book along -- Bret Anothony Johnston can 'write'!!!

Update: Its bugged me for TOO LONG ....
This book should be 5 stars....'not' 4

I have recommended it dozens and dozens of times --Its a great story!!

I was 'hooked' from pa
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
3.49 stars

This was like eating a giant Tootsie Pop and discovering the chewy chocolate center is missing. Lick lick lick lick lick suck suck suck lick lick lick suck suck suck suck....this hard candy stuff is yummy, but where's my reward for all that sucking and licking? At the end there's just that white paper stick soggy with your saliva.

Bret Anthony Johnson is a talented writer, and I would read another novel from him for sure. But he gave us all the good stuff in the first half of the story
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Carol by: Jill
Shelves: fiction
The Hook - Have you ever played that trust game called Fall Back? You know the one where you fall backwards into empty space and trust that someone will catch you or you could say “has your back”. That’s how I felt when I chose Remember Me Like This. Two of my trusted friends, Jill S. & Elyse W. both raved so much about this that I had faith they wouldn’t drop me into the pages of a book that was not good.

The Line”When she’d last seen Justin, girls were strange, prissy creatures to be avo
B the BookAddict
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Lovers of Great Fiction
Shelves: fiction

Devastating and original with an attention to detail which will leave the reader enmeshed in loss, hope and unrelenting memory. It is hard to believe that this was Johnston's first full length novel; he writes with the grace of a seasoned novelist.

The Campbell family has been torn apart by the disappearance of their son Justin. Although at first united in a quest to find Justin, time has worn them down. Eric has found some solace in an affair, Laura finds a refuge in dolphin rescue and their ot
I really, really wanted to love this book. I kept losing interest in it. Great storyline, it just felt like it was lacking something.
switterbug (Betsey)
Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"There can be disturbances of every kind--eating disturbances, disturbances in his sexuality and attachments, disturbances in fear-based behavior. Victims of childhood trauma often won't have the vocabularies to describe their emotions."

I have been working with abused children for 30 years; Johnston's description of a family trying to heal from a traumatic ordeal is spot-on-- beautifully written, nuanced, and heart stopping. This is neither clinically rendered nor a potboiler. Rather, as it says
Iris P
Remember Me Like This

Those that have been reading my reviews this year have probably noticed that I usually don’t dwell too much on how many stars I give a book.
Perhaps this is something I need to work on next year, but I considered any rating system, extremely subjective, arbitrary and frankly a little silly.
With that said I also admit that giving books low ratings (3 stars or less) is difficult to me.

So I did agonize a little bit about giving a low rating to this very popular novel, mostly bec
Julie Christine
Much as Emma Donoghue did in 2010's smash hit Room, Bret Anthony Johnston leads us through the aftermath of human captivity. But utterly unlike Room, Remember Me Like This never lets us inside the victim's head. In fact, we knew very little of what happened to Justin Campbell, who vanished one day near his home outside Corpus Christi, TX. The book opens four years after his disappearance with the news that he has been found.

Instead of shining the character spotlight on the kidnapped, Johnston r
Apr 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-audible
This is a quiet and compelling novel, reminiscent of those written by Kent Haurf. The story chronicles a family’s experiences and the aftermath when their young son, Justin is kidnapped and held for four years before finally being spotted and returned to his parents once again.

Bret Anthony Johnston’s writing style, like Kent Haurf, is eloquent, spare and beautiful. The author shows amazing insight as he explores the family’s grief, their guilt and their isolation when confronted with this tragi
Ron Charles
Feb 05, 2014 rated it liked it
A few years ago, I started avoiding imperiled children. I wasn’t always so callous. I’d wept for Susie Salmon in “The Lovely Bones” and cheered for Jack in “Room.” But suffering kids are an easy way to extort emotional thrills from readers. If you’re not careful, your bookshelf starts to look like a row of old milk cartons, each with a child’s plaintive headshot staring out. As Maureen Corrigan once noted in our pages, “In too much of contemporary American literature — high and low — the story l ...more
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
4.75 Stars for a beautifully written story. Nearly perfect for me....except for the OCCASIONAL excessive details that wore a little thin at times. Highly recommend.
Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Bret Anthony Johnston, where have you been all my reading life? For a character-based reader like me, this luminous debut book is sheer manna from heaven. It’s certain to make my personal Top Ten list of 2014.

The concept is deceptively simple: an 11-year-old boy named Justin goes missing one day and is likely abducted. His parents, Eric and Laura, and his younger brother Griffin are all well-liked in their Corpus Christi community; they muddle their way through the four ensuing years, coming apa
Larry H
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'd rate this 4.5 stars.

In the small town of Southport, Texas, the Campbells seemed like the perfect family. But one afternoon, their 11-year-old son Justin mysteriously disappears. Four years pass without any tangible clues, or any idea what happened to him.

The uncertainty takes its toll on Laura and Eric, both of whom find very different ways of trying to cope with this loss. Their younger son, Griffin, who fought with Justin earlier in the day he disappeared, is also struggling with guilt and
Apr 24, 2014 added it
Shelves: audio
didn't rock my boat. it may rock yours.

ETA: i have decided some time ago that i wouldn't write negative reviews of living authors who are not super-established celebrities (say, Haruki Murakami). since this is a first novel, my resolution feels even more justified.

i will only say this, because it seems important to me as a general thought, regardless of the merits of this book. it is the job of writers to show the many nuances of the human soul, those we are too busy or too uninterested or too
Apr 29, 2014 rated it liked it
A classic 3 1/2 star book.

If REMEMBER ME LIKE THIS were a kitchen appliance, it would be a slow cooker. Put the chicken in first thing in the morning, set it on low, and go to work for the day. When you get home, it'll be done. Maybe. You might want to put in an hour overtime just in case.

To be upfront and honest, I can understand why readers would 5-star this. And you, curious reader, might just fit the profile of a reader who would love it. The writing, though not stellar, is well above ordin
Taryn Pierson
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
I am not a big fan of books about Mothers of Missing Children. There are so many out there, they should probably have their own section in the bookstore. They're all the same: the child is kidnapped, or maybe goes missing on the way to the corner store, and the rest of the book consists of the mother's angry, self-pitying inner monologues, with plenty of sleepless nights and maybe an eventual affair with the crusty but caring detective assigned to the case. The mystery of what happened to the ch ...more
Jan 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2014
Thanks to Goodreads and Random House for the advance copy. This brilliant novel comes out May 13, 2014. Amy Hempel blurbs on the front cover of the ARC, which I assume will make it's way to the back upon publishing, "Both devastating and transporting, this is the rare novel a reader lives in, so persuasive is the impact, the insight, the heat of south Texas."

I couldn't have said it better myself. This is a gripping novel that sometimes reminded me of the stories of Raymond Carver, but with the
Bret Anthony Johnston is the Creative Writing Director at Harvard. I am not surprised, as this, his debut novel, is a very creatively crafted offering: plot and characters both.

A young boy, Justin Campbell, is missing. This book examines the feelings of the family while he is missing and after he is found. Some heady stuff here.

It is hard to dislike any of the characters, despite the fact they are flawed. Most important they are searching for the truth during and even after Justin is found. We h
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
This was a hard one to get through, and I'm not really sure why I finished this one to the end. I think I kept expecting it to pick up--it really did seem to have a lot of promise--so I was pretty disappointed when it just chugged along to the finish.

I was interested in the premise of this, about a teen who's reunited with his family after being kidnapped for a few years. But I was pretty much bored by the story. It seemed a little dry, I think, and it just wasn't able to pick up any momentum. I
Claire Fuller
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
In wonderful detail this novel follows the lives of a father, mother, and brother, after the elder brother disappears and is then returned to his family after four years. It's not so much the mystery of where he's been or what he's been through (we never see it from his point of view), but how the people around him have coped with his disappearance and subsequent reappearance.
Diane S ☔
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Justin Campbell was twelve years old when he went missing. His parents and younger brother spent this time trying to deal with, or in some cases not deal with, the loss of Justin.

Then wonders of wonders, he is found due to an observant lady who notices him and calls the police. A man is arrested, a pedophile who feeds on the young, and a man who is the son of someone Justin's grandfather knows. It is here that the story really begins.

A family trying to put their lives back together, brothers who
For four long year's the Campbell family has suffered. Mother and father, Eric and Laura and there son Griff have spent that whole time in despair at the disappearance of there son and older brother Justin. Having had there hopes raised time after time again the Campbell's are suspicious when a boy matching Justin's description is found alive and well only for it indeed to be the miracle they were hoping for.

The sands of time have caused deep psychological scars on the family. Eric having found
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was a goodreads first reads winner of "Remember Me Like This" It surrounds the Campbell family. Their son Justin disappeared four years ago when he was eleven. Now four years later Justin reappears. Now the Campbell family pick up from when Justin is found. little is given away about those four years and what justin may have gone through. Each of the family members are trying to put one foot in front of the other. Along with those who are related or know the family.This book leaves the readers ...more
Jun 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
The story of a missing child, and the aftermath of how this impacted his family, holds appeal for its supposed promise of an unforgettable novel. Instead it falls flat with way too many pages, a Mother that drove me up a wall, and forgettable characters in general. I only finished it because I couldn't believe that it would have got this many good reviews, and yet I didn't feel I had got to a point that anything was good about this book. It's not a feel good story, it's not got any surprise endi ...more
Roger Brunyate
Jul 12, 2016 rated it liked it

Years ago, when we first had reason to consult a family therapist, the first thing the man told us was: "Always allow for the aftermath. Don't assume that a thing is over just because it appears to be." Wise advice, but it is a subject you rarely see explored in literature. Until now. Bret Anthony Johnston has taken a disturbing event (the sudden disappearance of an eleven-year-old boy from a normal American family), delivered what seems to be a happy ending (the boy's safe return after
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
REMEMBER ME LIKE THIS is about an ordinary Corpus Christi family, whose oldest of two boys disappeared four years before at the age of 12, and has been the object of a publicized search for all that time, with abduction or murder assumed. As a family, with the surviving younger brother, they have gone forward in daily grief and tried to reclaim normality, but then the missing son is found living nearby. He has been abducted after a skateboard accident, and despite all the publicity of the search ...more
Liz Barnsley
This was a beautifully written and very haunting read, where the author delves into the lives of one family who has faced tragedy, then had an unexpected resolution – a child they thought lost is returned to them, which, you would think, would make everything perfect. With “Remember Me Like This” Bret Anthony Johnston has taken that theme and explored where such a happy event can also cause huge emotional issues. Not only for the child who was gone and has come back older, wiser and changed but ...more
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love the band Centro-Matic intensely. I love them so much that I frankly don't recommend them to people that often. I'm not selfishly guarding my little indie-rock secret. Rather, I worry that if I recommend them to a friend who doesn't appropriately flip out then I'll like that friend just a little less forever and ever world without end.

There may be something similar going on with Bret Anthony Johnston's work, which is why you may not want to talk to me about this book. I have a hard time m
Phils Osophie
Aug 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ein Geheimtipp! 'Justin's Heimkehr' erzählt eine unglaubliche Ausnahmesituation - ein entführter Junge kehrt einige Jahre später zu seiner Familie zurück. Dabei wird, hin und wieder zwar spannungsarm, aber super komplex, faszinierend und realistisch erzählt, was eine zerrütete Familie aushalten muss. Das macht dieses Buch zu einem echten Highlight - insofern man es als Charakterdrama ansieht, dass es ist, und nicht zu sehr darauf hofft, alle Fragen beantwortet zu bekommen.

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Bret Anthony Johnston is the author of the internationally best-selling novel Remember Me Like This, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and the winner of the 2015 McLaughlin-Esstman-Stearns Prize. The book has been translated around the world and is being made into a major motion picture. Bret is also the author of the awar ...more
“The past was a bridge that looked solid and sturdy, but once you were on it, you saw that it extended only far enough to strand you, to suspend you between loss and longing with nowhere to go at all.” 11 likes
“The strange and scattered pieces of ourselves we leave behind,” 4 likes
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