Carolyn Parkhurst,
Lost & Found
(Little, Brown & Co., 2006)

Lost & Found is the latest offering in reality television -- a globe-crossing elimination-style competition based on obscure clues and physically exhausting stunts. Carolyn Parkhurst's novel is a story of interconnected lives and skeletons buried deep; the drama and comedy just happen to be set behind the scenes of a reality television show.

The story's central characters are mother-and-daughter team Laura and Cassie, who feel alienated from one another after an unplanned pregnancy in the family. On the television show, their lives get jumbled in with those of a cutthroat D-list celebrity, a now-married former gay man and lesbian (saved by the Redemption ministry) and a comedy duo of two brothers, one of whom has family pain buried deep under his happy facade.

Throw in the machinations of a television team angling for as much conflict as possible, and the television taping experience serves as a turning point in each of the main characters' lives.

The action unfolds in chapters told from alternating points of view. As I reader, I connected with each of these characters via their individual voices. If I had known Parkhurst's novel was set around a reality television show, I might have hesitated about picking it up, but I'm glad I took the chance. This is a worthwhile read.

by Jessica Lux-Baumann
2 June 2007

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