Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Reading - Lost and Found

Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst

As two-person teams journey from Egypt to Japan to Scandinavia, the carefully constructed, TV-ready personae of the competitors slowly unravel. Employing a constantly shifting perspective, Parkhurst admirably juggles a large cast of characters, with a number of competitors emerging as standouts: squabbling mother and daughter Laura and Cassie, tormented by a secret neither of them wants to publicly acknowledge; Justin and Abby, an "ex-gay" married couple wrestling with unruly desire; and Juliet, a former child star desperately angling for a return to the limelight.

The action focuses on four characters. Justin and Abby are a married couple, a lesbian and a gay man who have renounced their lifestyles and proudly carry the banner of their newfound faith while they both struggle to remain straight. Although described as young, these two seem much older than their years in their pursuit of a traditional marriage. Meanwhile, the mother-daughter team of Laura and Cassie deals with the fact that the girl gave birth without anyone even noticing that she was pregnant. When she is given the chance to choose a different teammate–and does–emotions and rivalry ratchet up exponentially. Teens may well relate to Cassie, who feels alienated from her mother and unable to communicate about the most basic parts of her personality (most notably, that she is attracted to women). Lauras reaction is that of love and guilt. Despite being rejected, she keeps trying to find a way to connect to her daughter.

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