If You Find Me is a novel written by Emily Murdoch, narrated by Tai Sammons … an unabridged audiobook 7 hrs and 51 mins in length. Of particular note, this is a debut novel released in 2013 and as of this writing, Emily Murdoch has not released another book.
Briefly, this is the story of a four year old girl, Carrie, kidnapped by her meth-addicted mother. Carrie is hidden in a state campground and for the next 10 years is subjected to sexual and physical abuse beyond the comprehension of many. A second child is conceived in a drug-indused/related stupor by Carrie’s mother and Carrie rears and loves her baby sister until they are ultimately found by Carrie’s father.
The story has the initial flavor of Nell, a movie based on a play about a wild child, who lived her entire life with her mother in an isolated mountain cabin. Unlike Nell however, the child in If You Find Me is self-educated, well read, and plays the violin. Although not stated within the book, Carrie’s mother can’t have been ‘all bad’ to have taught her to read, love to learn, and play the violin like a virtuoso. Carrie is not bitter, but a very loving, kind person. But … she has cigarette burns and scars on her back … so does the little sister. She is subjected to prostitution and rape. The conflicts are disturbing elements in the plot and I’m not sure this is realistic … but, there it is.
Something bad happened in those woods that has caused a traumatic muteness in the younger sister. Carrie is certain any potential future is contingent upon keeping the secret … but, her little sister’s muteness is something Carrie needs to address. Thus is the thrust.
Although the story is not specifically identified as young adult, the primary characters are teenagers – parties and high school are featured. The angst and fundamentally obnoxious attitudes of the teenager is evident in some characters, but most are unrealistically responsible super-kids, i.e., they-who-don’t-exist-except-in-the-minds-of-adults. But … this would make the book a great gift for a teenager.
The story takes place in rural Tennessee and Tai Sammons does a terrific job with the southern accents. Narration is fine.
Basically, the story is very well written, poetic at times. Murdoch does a terrific job with colloquialisms, the overall flavor of the rural environment, and the mind and motivations of Carrie.
An enjoyable read/listen … but it is, in my opinion, young adult.