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Remember Me Like This: A Novel by Bret…

Remember Me Like This: A Novel

by Bret Anthony Johnston

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11328106,831 (3.95)5



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Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Different take on a horrifying subject. As a parent I don't even want to think about how I would deal with a missing child but this book takes the emotions straight on. Well thought out and the writing really gets a hold on the emotional impacts that such an event would have on the other members of the family. The only down side is I would like to have had an understanding of what happened to Justin while he was gone even if it was a small understanding. Other than that it was a thumbs up for me.
  justablondemoment | Jul 20, 2014 |
A family's identity revolves around the unimagineable heartache of the disappearance of a pre-teen son four years earlier. Both parents and the grandfather have continued to grieve in their own ways, and the younger brother has become isolated from other kids. When the missing son is found and reunited, instead of a focus on what happened to him during the interim, the story revolves around the ripple effects of his absence on the present for each of the family members. Each person's reaction to his kidnapping and the perpetrator becomes intertwined, leading to a believable and suspenseful climax. ( )
  sleahey | Jul 8, 2014 |
Remember Me Like This is thought provoking. You will sit and think long after you have finished reading this book, particularly if you are a parent. This book is not dissimilar to "Room" but the perspective is more from the family of the missing then returned child. The impact of the loss of a child is profound. Whilst the child is deemed missing the torment is endless. When found deceased the child's family is sentenced to a lifetime of grief. But to have that child suddenly found - returned. Therein lies the difference in this book. The author takes you on a very difficult and painful journey as a family try to rebuild, to reconnect, and to understand their changed relationship with their son. This book is sad and poignant, and well written. It's not a feel good story but it is well and truly worthy of reading.

* I was provided with a free copy of this book to review and give my honest opinion. ( )
  KerryMarsh | Jul 5, 2014 |
I finished this book and have spent a day thinking how to review it. It was a fascinating and realistic portrayal of a family in upheaval. Justin, the oldest child of the Campbells, went missing four years ago. Each member has dealt with the tragedy in their own desperate way which is laid out in alternating perspectives. When Justin unexpectedly returns, the family must figure out how to be a family while dealing with Justin’s mysterious past. At times, this book is heartbreaking but each character is trying to do the best thing for their family and Justin. This is one of the better books that I have read on the issue of child kidnapping that is both realistic and hopeful. I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  LissaJ | Jun 27, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I usually think of depression as a cold thing, but in Remember Me Like This, it is oppressive heat.

Set in the fictional town of Southport, Texas, near Corpus Christi on the Gulf Coast, Bret Anthony Johnston conveys a languid tension in a family in a small town that has experienced tragedy. A child has disappeared.

The family is broken. Eric and Laura Campbell's oldest son, Justin, has been missing for four years. Eric, Laura, and their other son, Griff, have spent those four years searching for Justin, not knowing whether he is alive or dead. Four years from when he disappeared and they don't know if they should stop what has felt like a fruitless search, or continue, if only to find their son's body.

As well as conveying the brokenness of the family, Johnston seemed to capture each family member's own grief signature - Laura's energy for her family fading into passion for a rescued dolphin, Eric's inability to confront his own lack of strength, and Griff's life in his brother's fractured shadow, trying to be careful not to mention or emulate his missing brother too much.

How does a family live as hope deteriorates?

I loved the atmosphere of the book. Tension and guilt and fear and depression and hope and heat...Johnston makes each character come believably alive. Having never experienced the awful disappearance of a child, as well as the unknowing of the lost child's fate, many times as I was reading I had the thought that "this is what it must feel like".

The book begins with the family four years into Justin's disappearance. About a third of the way into the book I read the back cover, which told a major plot point. I wish I had not seen that plot development before it happened in my own reading. This is one of those books I think it's better not to know too much about. It's a gift to be part of the unfolding.

These characters and this story will be with me for a long time.
  DianaCoats | Jun 22, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
There is one word that sums up this book for me; overwrought. The author knows his craft and can turn out good prose. The problem is that he does so about the same thing over and over again. Every emotion, every thought is described at length. It got to the point where I read the dialogue and about the first two sentences of each paragraph and skipped the rest because that was the only way I could get through this.

I am familiar with this kind of writing because I attended the U of Iowa and I took classes with a lot of the Workshop writers. I read a story that got a writer into the Workshop (no easy feat). It was a 23-page story about two minutes in someone's life. Reading it was like watching a soap opera. Or watching paint dry. This book reminded me of that. For me, it's about the suspension of disbelief. I live in a book while I am reading it and I can't do that when I am annoyed and distracted by a writer's attempt to make every sentence a present wrapped up in a pretty bow at the expense of the story.

As I said, the author knows how to turn out a nice phrase. I even like his characters and the story is good. But he beats the reader into submission with the sheer volume of expostulation. I really wanted to like this book, but I absolutely did not.
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Four years have passed since Justin Campbell's disappearance, a tragedy that rocked the small town of Southport, Texas. Did he run away? Was he kidnapped? Did he drown in the bay? As the Campbells search for answers, they struggle to hold what's left of their family together. Then one afternoon, the impossible happens. The police call to report that Justin has been found only miles away in a nearby town, and most important, he appears to be fine. And though the reunion is a miracle, Justin's homecoming exposes the deep rifts that have diminished his family, the wounds they all carry that may never fully heal. Trying to return to normal, his parents do their best to ease Justin back into his old life. But as thick summer heat takes hold, violent storms churn in the Gulf and in the Campbells' hearts. When a reversal of fortune lays bare the family's greatest fears - and offers perhaps their only hope for recovery - each of them must fight to keep the ties that bind them from permanently tearing apart. A gripping novel with the pace of a thriller but told with the deep empathy of literature, Remember Me Like This introduces Bret Anthony Johnston as a gifted storyteller. With his sophisticated and emotionally taut plot Johnston reveals how only in caring for each other, can we save ourselves.… (more)

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