Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff

For the main part, my job is to sell books to schools, and because of this I always think of the intended audience when I read a book. This book has me a bit stumped. The central character is Mila, she’s 12 and apart from a brief appearance from Jake (15) all of the other characters are adults. When you think about most books written for the teenage market, they rarely include adults, at least as central characters. This book is all about adults and adult issues such as alcoholism, marital problems, depression, and infidelity. There are also themes such as friendship, family and trust, but it all revolves around the adult characters.

While Mila may only be 12, she is very mature; I would have had her pegged as a slightly older teenager if her age hadn’t been mentioned. She is an only child, and her parents had her late in life, when they were in their 40s. Her parents are academic and artistic and seem to have treated her as an equal; this could explain why Mila’s ‘voice’ in this story is not that of an everyday 12 year old girl.

I am a fan of road trip stories, and this story does indeed have a road trip, through upstate New York on the highway heading to the Canadian border. Mila and her Dad Gil are heading to New York in search of Gil’s best friend Matthew. Matthew left the house one day, and no one has heard form him since, he has a wife Suzanne and a baby son Gabrielle. On the road we learn about Gil and Matthew’s friendship, meet Lynda and her son Jake who have their own connection to Matthew and we find out what happened the day when Matthews’ son Owen was killed.

See what I mean? Pretty heavy going for your run of the mill teenage novel. And I guess that’s the thing, this isn’t your run of the mill teenage novel. This book is all about sadness, and there really isn’t much of a resolution to that sadness either, it’s not like everyone works through it and comes out happy at the other end…because they don’t, life doesn’t always work like that.
With all my raving it may seem like I didn’t like this book, but that’s not true, I really liked this book. I read it in one sitting, it’s that kind of book, I’m just not sure who I would recommend it to?

This is one of those stories that I would love to talk about with other people who have read it, so please feel free to leave comments as to what you thought of this book.


  1. I felt a little like that with How I live Now, that is I devoured it in the end but wasn't quite sure who I could recommend it to.
    I'll have to give this one a try, as the HILN movie is sparking interest in her books again.

    1. Thanks for your response Brona, I will be interested to know what you think after you read it.