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Remember Me Like This by Bret Anthony…

Remember Me Like This (2014)

by Bret Anthony Johnston

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2183853,416 (3.79)12
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Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
OK story but didn't hook me, really had to work to finish it. Had some interesting spots but there was just too much going on yet I didn't care much about most of it. ( )
  eenerd | Sep 29, 2015 |
Four years ago, 11-year old Justin Campbell vanished, leaving behind his devastated parents and younger brother. In the time since, the family has begun to erode and crack open, unable to bear the weight of the unknown. And then, one summer day, Justin is found and the family is reunited - made whole again. It should be a happy ending, but this family still has much to go through before it can move on.

I really enjoyed this novel - it provides a perspective I think few of us think about when presented with news stories about families reunited, children found, etc. Johnston is a strong writer, and the sense of place (a south Texas beach town) is really well done. The story is told from multiple perspectives - the parents, the younger son, and the grandfather (interestingly, Justin's perspective is omitted; we only see him through the eyes of others). I would have rated this a very strong 4.5 stars, except I had two problems with the book I couldn't get past: the younger son is 13 years old but seems far older. I understand he'd probably be "wise beyond his years" or whatever but his experiences and narrative voice rang very false to me despite him being my favorite character when considered from other POVs. My other problem was that I wasn't fully convinced by the actions and decisions of the father and grandfather toward the end. It seemed like a switch was just flipped and all of a sudden they had decided to do X.

Despite those two issues, I would recommend the novel, which is at turns incredibly sad and beautifully hopeful. Much of it rang true, and I appreciated Johnston's showing the other side of a familiar story. ( )
  katiekrug | Jul 18, 2015 |
A well written story of the psychological impact a child abduction has on the entire family. Reminded me of the Steven Staynor kidnapping decades ago. Enjoyed listening to this on audio. ( )
  sharlene_w | May 7, 2015 |
great read about a young boy who is abducted and held for four years before he is found and returned to his family, set in Corpus Christie, Texas
  jamesju | Apr 24, 2015 |
This is a novel about a family in crisis. They had been in crisis mode for so long that they didn't know how to react when their situation changed for the better. Four years before the story begins, their 11 year old son Justin disappears. The mom, dad and remaining son spend those four years searching for Justin and re-creating their family around his loss. As the novel begins, Justin is found. He has been kidnapped and is living only a few miles away. The family is thrilled but there is a new family crisis on how to integrate Justin back into the family. Interestingly enough, the story is told in the voices of all family members, except Justin so the reader never learns exactly what happened to him during those four years. The novel is well done and the characters are believable. The story alternates between extremely sad and very hopeful for the future as the family struggles to learn how to become a family again. ( )
  susan0316 | Feb 17, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (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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Well, when one has no one, nowhere else one can go.
- - Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment
I've lain with the devil
Cursed God above
Forsaken heaven
To bring you my love
- - PJ Harvey, "To Bring You My Love"
For Jay Anthony and Donna Leah Johnston. I remember.
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The harbor bridge crossed over the Port of Corpus Christi.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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