Still Missing

Even though I finished reading May’s book club selection a few weeks ago, typing up the review you’ll find below really made me think a lot about the book again. It was incredibly disturbing and I think that just remembering what I read and typing up my thoughts suppressed my appetite a bit because I wasn’t very hungry when my normal lunchtime rolled around.

I started with a small bowl of cottage cheese topped with a sliced red velvet apricot.

apricot with cottage cheese

At the grocery store over the weekend, I saw the red velvet apricots and thought they were plums! Not so!

Since this particular fruit was new to me, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was sweeter than a plum and so refreshing.

cottage cheese with apricot

While I snacked on my cottage cheese and apricot mixture, I prepared a lavash pizza with squash, mushrooms and shredded cheese.

lavash pizzalavash veggie pizza

This pizza made me want to make my cheeseburger pizza again sometime soon! (<—That is such an old blog post! It’s from my first month of blogging when Ryan was still just my “boyfriend.” Ah!)

Still Missing

Alright my fellow readers, it’s time to discuss the May’s Book Club selection: Still Missing.

still missing chevy stevens

You may also find other PBF book reviews and discussions on my Books page if you’re looking for some summer reading material.

Brief Summary

Still Missing follows the abduction of Annie O’Sullivan, a 32-year-old realtor living on Vancouver Island.

The story begins with Annie speaking to her psychiatrist, recounting what happened to her during the time of her abduction and the events that followed her eventual escape.

The book is descriptive, disturbing and a very intense read, specifically in the first half of the novel when the author describes what exactly happened to Annie during her time with her abductor in a remote mountain cabin.

My Review (Includes spoilers!)

I had no idea just how disturbing this book would be when I began reading it in the middle of May. When Ryan asked me how I was liking it when I was about a quarter of the way through it, I simply said, “It’s miserable. It’s just very disturbing.”

The vivid descriptions in the first half of the book made me uncomfortable since I couldn’t stop my mind from thinking about victims of rape, kidnapping and sexual abuse who may have gone through something similar or even much worse. It’s sick and horrifying. I know this is a work of fiction, but I had a hard time reminding myself that Still Missing was “just a book.”

As for Annie, I didn’t like the way she talked to her psychiatrist in the beginning of the book, but I quickly grew to really like her and found her to be a strong and powerful woman. When she gave birth to her daughter, my heart grew for her even more when I saw what a nurturing mother she was, especially under such horrific circumstances.

Thank goodness the second half of the book wasn’t nearly as disturbing as the first half, though it was most certainly just as captivating, if not more so!

I was very invested in Annie by the time she finally escaped and wanted to see how her relationships would develop or flounder and rooted for her to find true security and happiness.

The twists and unexpected relationships that developed in the second half of the book made me fly through the final pages of Still Missing and left me with a much better taste in my mouth following such an intense first half.

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Additional reviews of Still Missing may be found on the following blogs:

Discussion Questions

  1. How did you feel about the graphic nature of the rape scenes in the book? Do you think they were necessary to help convey the horrific events that occurred during Annie’s captivity?
  2. Were you rooting for a relationship to develop between Annie and her previous boyfriend or Annie and the detective? Which man (if any) did you want her to be with in the end?
  3. Were you surprised by the twist in the second half of the book that revealed more about why Annie was chosen by The Freak? 

Comments

  1. says

    I did enjoy this book but it was very disturbing to me and brought me to a place I didn’t necessarily go. It was really well written and held my attention but I was truly horrified by the first half of it.
    I was kind of rooting for the detective but I know that she probably needed to work more on herself and how to deal with the trauma she went through before she could enter a relationship.
    The ending was a real surprise.

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  2. Jessica says

    This was such a gripping and disturbing book – I couldn’t put it down! When reading the first half there were multiple times when I found myself feeling sick just reading about what she had to do to stay alive and how strong of a person she must have been to be able to act in the way she had to. I was so angry and truly hated “The Freak” at multiple times and just found myself overwhelmed by her situation.

    I thought the second half was equally as good with the twist that just broke my heart for Annie. I had to imagine how she could possibly ever have a normal and happy life after enduring everything that she did. Overall, I thought it was a great book, although difficult to read in parts.

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  3. says

    For some reason it creeps me out that this book was taken place in Vancouver Island, since I live there. So I don’t know if I could read it without getting freaked out. Even if it is fiction hah

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  4. Nora says

    I blame myself for this selection. When you put the list up of possible books I was already reading Insurgent so I picked Still Missing (it was on sale for 3 dollars on the kindle!). Wow. I was disturbed. I honestly think reading it made me rather cranky. I flew threw the first part of the book because I wanted to get it over with. Then I flew through the second part because it was gripping, literally I read it in two days. I didn’t like the way she spoke to her therapist, per se, but I liked the writing of how you never heard the doctors voice.

    Honestly I never watch scary movies for this reason, it was disturbing and awful to think people have gone through it. And I couldn’t help think as a woman what I would do in her shoes at certain parts throughout the book. Well mainly I would’ve stopped trusting her mother long before she did, that woman was annoying!

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  5. says

    I actually listened to this book – for awhile there I had a crazy commute and only had time for audiobooks! It was super creepy, and the graphic rape scenes probably even worse by being read out loud, but the painful stuff had to be there or we would’ve never understood Annie.

    I definitely wanted her to be with the detective, because I think she needed someone who didn’t know her before and expect her to be that person. The twists were unexpected for me, and I agree with you that I wanted to race through the second half of it.

    However, still think I preferred Room. Writing from the perspective of the boy born to the imprisoned mother was really thought-provoking.

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  6. says

    LOVE that you are an avid reader–Must check this out. See, I think fruit and cottage cheese are so good together, and some people look at me cross eyed.

    I even let my golden Cooper lick the empty cottage cheese container, does Sadie like it?

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  7. Emily @livingunaware.wordpress.com says

    Soo… I really wanted to read this super creepy book, until I just realized it’s set on my OWN ISLAND.

    Yikes, maybe not. I might be a baby and wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.

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  8. Alexa says

    I’m still in the process of reading Still Missing, and it’s definitely not what I first expected.

    I vote Defending Jacob for June’s book. It has so many crazy twists! (Or The Art of Racing in the Rain… how could you not want to read a book from a dog’s perspective?!)

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  9. Jacki says

    Agreed. VERY disturbing book. Normally I hate the intimate descriptiveness of some books but I think in this one you really had to suffer through it with her to get the real idea of just how horrible it would have been in her situation. I couldn’t imagine anything that horrible.

    I was rooting for the detective. He seemed to be the only one really obsessed with finding her and seemed to give her the most comfort during her recovery.

    The end just blew me away. I can not comprehend anyone that would do that to their own child. Even when she found out it got messed up she saved herself from prosecution instead of worrying about her child. I’m sure I can’t say the words that come to mind when I think of that woman.

    All in all great book. I like joining in on the book club as it makes me read something other than the authors I’ve become comfortable with.

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  10. says

    I have been having so much fun reading everyone reviews and thoughts! This is a great process. Anyway, my thoughts on these questions:

    1. How did you feel about the graphic nature of the rape scenes in the book? Do you think they were necessary to help convey the horrific events that occurred during Annie’s captivity?

    Ugh. This is hard. I would say I am pretty sensitive. What the book did “well” was not romanticizing the rape. I have seen movies in which rape is almost romanticized and I consider that a disservice to all females. The graphic nature of the book is extremely matter-of fact and emphasized the controlling game that is going on and Annie’s effort to understand that game in order to survive. And the rape isn’t even the totality of it – frankly the bathing, etc. upset me quite a bit as well.

    While I didn’t like reading pretty much any of those parts and in fact even skimmed some of them to a degree I believe they were a necessary part to the tone of this book.

    2. Were you rooting for a relationship to develop between Annie and her previous boyfriend or Annie and the detective? Which man (if any) did you want her to be with in the end?

    I actually didn’t care much about either relationship – which is kind of funny, I like a good love story as much as anyone. Romance just didn’t fit in the book. The redemption and recovery was in herself.

    The boyfriend wasn’t developed enough and the single sex scene with the detective demonstrated to me that she was obviously still working through things. Also, romance was just such a minor element to the thriller/mystery side of the book that it almost seemed out of place. The relationship with her dog mattered more. 🙂

    3. Were you surprised by the twist in the second half of the book that revealed more about why Annie was chosen by The Freak?

    Absolutely I was! I totally relieved that there was a nice crazy ending. After getting through the beginning I almost didn’t even care how far-fetched the ending might have been.

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  11. Morgan says

    I have to admit that I really didn’t care for this book. I couldn’t really get myself into liking Annie. We had barely any background on her personality before she was taken, but were to assume that she was a sweet, likeable person…then we’re introduced to this crass character. I just couldn’t see it.

    My other issue: The Freak was so incredibly careful about EVERYTHING. He kept utensils locked up. Stocked the place with unbreakable plates. ETC ETC But then he goes and leaves an ax unattended, his back to her, and had no idea that she was creeping up on it?? (Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad she did) It just didn’t make sense with the flow of his actions. It’s almost as if the author just needed a way to make her escape.

    Part way through the book I just flipped ahead a few chapters and it didn’t even feel like I was missing anything.

    I didn’t absolutely hate it, but it’s not something I would recommend.

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