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The Local News: A Novel by Miriam Gershow

The Local News: A Novel

by Miriam Gershow

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This is a weird book... a little nerd girl's older brother goes missing and that's about it. Later, you find out what happened to the brother, but that's not even the end of the novel and the stuff that comes after that doesn't even matter. In fact, the whole book doesn't matter. It was cliched and boring on almost every single page. ( )
  TeenieLee | Apr 3, 2013 |
Miriam Gershow brings the lives of those tragic, strained faces seen too frequently on television who plead for information about a missing child. In pain-staking detail Gershow chronicles the reality behind the headlines and the new clips that the Pasternak family experiences after the disappearance of Danny, the “golden” child of the family. Bookish, awkward Lydia, the younger sister, wryly describes the disintegration of routine, her parent’s crumbling marriage and the desperate need for answers. Lydia finds herself suddenly sought out by her brother’s jock friends and befriended by an extremely extroverted classmate. As Lydia recounts family interactions and the treatment Danny both received and gave the reader comes to understand that this family’s brokenness occurred long before Danny disappeared. The realistic portrayal of this family often makes for uncomfortable reading and yet I felt compelled to continue to attend and not look away. ( )
  kellyn | Jun 30, 2011 |
Sibling relationships can change dramatically when kids reach their teens, and it's happened to Danny and Lydia Pasternak. Danny morphed into a popular jock, one of the kids who can't be bothered with brainiac outsiders like his younger sister Lydia. Actually, other than her friend David Nelson, a brainiac outsider himself, most of the kids at Franklin High School can't be bothered with Lydia, and she's accepted that. But when Danny goes missing, suddenly everyone in town wants to be involved with the Pasternaks somehow, and Lydia doesn't know what to make of the attention that comes with being The Local News.

Danny Pasternak is the character that sets Miriam Gershow's story in motion, but it's told through Lydia's perspective, and in Lydia, Gershow has a distinctive and memorable narrator. Lydia has spent enough time on the fringes of suburban high-school life that when she's suddenly brought into the middle of it - sought out by the people who hovered around her lost brother - part of her remains outside it, observing and dissecting the dynamics of keg parties and aimless hanging out even as she takes part in the drinking and the confused, confusing social maneuvering. Lydia's own feelings about her brother's disappearance are just as confused and confusing, as she is strangely drawn toward the private detective investigating it at the same time she and her parents seem to draw further apart from each other.

Gershow has crafted a resonant and thoughtful exploration of grief - its public rituals and often unpredictable private expression, the ambivalence and conflict that sometimes accompany it - that's an involving, suspenseful page-turner at the same time. Some of the suspense comes directly from the mystery of Danny's disappearance, but for me, a great deal came from my engagement with Lydia and how she experienced the effects of it. I related to her sense of displacement, worried about her misdirected efforts to do something, and hoped she'd find her way through the confusion. While most of the novel is actually told in flashback, Lydia's voice and behavior are realistically adolescent and convincingly portrayed; however, I never had the feeling that this was anything other than a novel for adults. A novel like The Local News brings me back to my occasional ponderings of young-adult literature, because if "a teenage protagonist" is the primary criteria for classifying fiction as YA, this book would fit in there. However, I really don't think that's what it's meant to be, and I'd like to keep this one for the grown-ups.

It's impressive to realize that this is Miriam Gershow's first novel, and I look forward to reading what she does next. ( )
  Florinda | Jun 25, 2010 |
The main character, Lydia, grabbed me from the first page. Her brother is missing, she is forgotten, she must now raise herself. ( )
  susanjoyce | Apr 8, 2010 |
A WOW book. Loved the relationships and the complexity.
  shazjhb | Mar 28, 2010 |
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To Rebecca & To Jordan
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After my brother went missing, my parents let me use their car whenever I wanted, even thought I only had a learner's permit.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385527616, Hardcover)

A deeply moving story of the complicated bond between brother and sister

“Going missing was the only interesting thing my brother had ever done.”
Even a decade later, the memories of the year Lydia Pasternak turned sixteen continue to haunt her. As a teenager, Lydia lived in her older brother’s shadow. While Danny’s athletic skills and good looks established his place with the popular set at school, Lydia’s smarts relegated her to the sidelines, where she rolled her eyes at her brother and his meathead friends and suffered his casual cruelty with resigned bewilderment. Though a part of her secretly wished for a return of the easy friendship she and Danny shared as children, another part of her wished Danny would just vanish. And then, one night, he did.
In the year following Danny Pasternak’s disappearance, his parents go off the rails, his town buzzes with self-indulgent mourning, and his little sister Lydia finds herself thrust into unwanted celebrity, forced to negotiate her ambivalent—often grudging—grief for a brother she did not particularly like. Suddenly embraced by Danny’s old crowd, forgotten by her parents, and drawn into the missing person investigation by her family’s intriguing private eye, Lydia both blossoms and struggles to find herself during Danny’s absence. But when a trail of clues leads to a shocking outcome in her brother’s case, the teenaged Lydia and the adult she will become are irrevocably changed, even now as she reluctantly prepares to return to her hometown.

Relentlessly gripping, often funny, and profoundly moving, The Local News is a powerful exploration of the fraught relationship between a brother and sister and how our siblings define who we are.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:47 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Bright, precocious but socially awkward Lydia Pasternak reports on the aftermath of her older brother's disappearance. Danny was everything Lydia wasn't: at ease with their parents, popular in school, physically imposing, beloved by the opposite sex. Danny went from being Lydia's playmate in their youth to her tormentor in high school, so his disappearance leaves Lydia with some very mixed feelings, one of which is relief. As time goes on and the weekend search parties prove more and more fruitless, Lydia struggles with the fact that her geeky best friend, David, has feelings for her; she also obsesses over the private investigator hired by the family and allows herself to be sucked into the social world Danny once dominated.… (more)

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