Monday, October 09, 2006

Eye Contact, by Cammie McGovern

Adam, a nine-year-old boy with autism, disappears into the woods with a 10-year-old girl from his special ed class. Adam is eventually found alive, but the girl has been murdered. The police try to get Adam to tell them what happened, but he has retreated into himself more than ever as he tries to make sense of what he's just experienced. Occasionally a clue is able to be pulled from the traumatized autistic boy, but to find the truth the entire community must decode clues found in the woods, in the schools, and in their own lives.

I started to relate the plot of this story to one of my co-workers. He stopped me before I got too far. "This isn't exactly an uplifting story, is it?" I hadn't even gotten to some of the more disturbing scenes. So no, this isn't a warm fuzzy, touchy feely kind of book, but it's not nearly as dark as the events of the book could have made it. There is some positive balance from the caring relationship between Adam and his mother, along with several other sets of oddly supportive relationships. One of the main themes of the book is that love and hope persist even through trials, regardless of whether the trials were created by fate or by our own poor choices. Sometimes that love and hope will only survive when we deliberately force it to.

It was an interesting book with some interesting messages. The autistic boy was portrayed very realistically. In spite of those positives, I'm not ecstatic over this one. There were too many loose ends in the plot, too many requests for the reader to suspend disbelief, too few characters without major problems. The writing style also seemed awkward to me. Sometimes you weren't sure if you were supposed to be in a character's head or watching the character from above. The verb tense kept inexplicably switching from past to present tense too.

3 Stars
3 out of 5 Stars3 out of 5 Stars3 out of 5 Stars3 out of 5 Stars3 out of 5 stars

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