Saturday, February 19, 2011

Book Review: Once Was Lost

I read Story of a Girl, Sara Zarr’s debut novel, last year. And then I read Sweethearts since I enjoyed her first novel so much. So I was very excited to get my hands on Once Was Lost. I didn’t love it as much as Story of a Girl, but enjoyed it much more than Sweethearts.

Samara (aka Sam) is the protagonist in this book. There were times when I was frustrated with her, but I remember feeling very much like her when I was a teen. I was on the verge of tears through much of the book. (Although, I have to say that, I felt like that with Sweethearts, too. I couldn’t hold back the tears with Story of a Girl.) My life was much different. However, similarities were close enough that I felt close to her.

Sam’s mom was in rehab at the start of the book after receiving a DUI. My mom got sick when I was 10 and spent much time in the hospital. Even when she was at home, often she’d be in her room, sleeping, which was what she needed, but I felt like I didn’t get to see her enough. She passed away a few years ago. Reading about how much Sam wanted her mom felt very close to home. Sam’s dad is a pastor. Everyone loves him. While my dad is atheist, he’s a very charismatic person and most everyone enjoys his company. But much like Sam’s dad, he’s different in the home than out of it. And he’s never around for his family. Another thing Sam and I had in common was the issue with faith. I was raised Christian, and I started doubting and questioning in my mid teen years. Perhaps the reasons I questioned were the same reasons she did.

I absolutely love Sara Zarr’s books and her writing style. The story feels so real that I think most everyone can relate to one aspect or another. There are funny parts, sad parts, and everywhere in between. I think she is one writer whose books will be around a long time. Like Forever… by Judy Blume. No matter how much time passes, the stories will be relatable.


Samara Taylor used to believe in miracles. She used to believe in a lot of things. 

When your father's a pastor, it's hard not to buy in to the idea of the perfect family, a loving God, and amazing grace. But lately, Sam has a lot of reasons to doubt. Her mother lands in rehab after a DUI and her father seems more interested in his congregation than his family. When a young girl in her small town is kidnapped, the local tragedy overlaps with Sam's personal one, and the already worn thread of faith holding her together begins to unravel. 

In her third novel, acclaimed author Sara Zarr examines the coexistence of affliction and hope, and what happens when everything you thought you believed--about God, your family, and yourself--is transformed.


Anonymous said...

I loved this book, it was so heartbreaking and beautiful. I so agree with Sara Zarr's writing, it is so unbelievably good. Glad to hear you loved it, wonderful review!

Catie S (Book Bound) said...

I bought this one because you recommended it to me. I'm excited to read all of her books.

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