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Lost & Found
by Brooke Davis


Overview -
An irresistible debut novel about the wisdom of the very young, the mischief of the very old, and the magic that happens when no one else is looking

Millie Bird, seven years old and ever hopeful, always wears red gumboots to match her curly hair.
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Overview


An irresistible debut novel about the wisdom of the very young, the mischief of the very old, and the magic that happens when no one else is looking

Millie Bird, seven years old and ever hopeful, always wears red gumboots to match her curly hair. Her struggling mother, grieving the death of Millie’s father, leaves her in the big ladies’ underwear department of a local store and never returns.

Agatha Pantha, eighty-two, has not left her house—or spoken to another human being—since she was widowed seven years ago. She fills the silence by yelling at passersby, watching loud static on TV, and maintaining a strict daily schedule.

Karl the Touch Typist, eighty-seven, once used his fingers to type out love notes on his wife’s skin. Now that she’s gone, he types his words out into the air as he speaks. Karl’s been committed to a nursing home, but in a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes. Now he’s on the lam.

Brought together at a fateful moment, the three embark upon a road trip across Western Australia to find Millie’s mother. Along the way, Karl wants to find out how to be a man again; Agatha just wants everything to go back to how it was.

Together they will discover that old age is not the same as death, that the young can be wise, and that letting yourself feel sad once in a while just might be the key to a happy life.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780525954682
  • ISBN-10: 0525954686
  • Publisher: Dutton Books
  • Publish Date: January 2015
  • Page Count: 320
  • Reading Level: Ages 18-UP

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Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-01-12
  • Reviewer: Staff

This novel by Australian travel writer and first-time novelist Davis attempts to use whimsy as a delivery mechanism for a meditation on loss and loneliness among the very young and very old. Seven-year-old Millie Bird is obsessed with death, inscribing her encounters with dead things in a "Book of Dead Things." Entry twenty-eight is "MY DAD." As a result of losing her husband and Millie's father, it's not long before Millie's unstable mother drops her at a Perth department store by the "Ginormous Women's Underwear" section and never returns. Millie spends a couple of nights hiding out in the store, seemingly undetected by anyone except a mannequin she treats as a companion and an old man she approaches in the store's café who identifies himself as "Karl the Touch Typist." Karl is battling his own grief after the loss of his wife. Finally caught by store security, Millie, with Karl's help, escapes authorities and makes her way home, where an elderly neighbor, Agatha Pantha, an unpleasant shut-in following her husband's death, somehow decides it would be better to accompany Millie to find her mother in Melbourne than to call the police. Karl catches up with them and the unlikely trio travels across Australia. Ultimately, this journey toward understanding and accepting death is too predictable, offering little aside from the quirks of its characters. (Jan.)

 
BookPage Reviews

One journey leads to another

Brooke Davis’ story of a little girl named Millie Bird turns child abandonment into an adventure. After her father dies and her mother leaves her in the ladies’ underwear department, Millie finds two improbable helpers: Karl, who types out everything he says or feels with his fingers, and Agatha, who writes complaint letters and catalogs her aging body’s daily changes. Karl and Agatha, both in their 80s and widowed, have lived long lives but don’t quite know how to live now. Millie’s predicament gives them a reason to try. 

In Lost & Found, Australian author Davis renders Millie, especially, in careful detail—she’s fragile, yet not completely unhinged by all the upheaval in her life. Millie comes across as a 7-year-old should: curious, experimental, hopeful, afraid but covering with bravado and optimism. From vantage points further on, Karl and Agatha are doing much the same. 

Davis’ vivid imagining of the grieving process as a roller coaster of questions with no easy answers reflects some of her personal struggle, as her mother’s sudden death occurred not long before she began this project. Readers will find themselves pondering difficult questions along with Millie, Karl and Agatha. A literal cross-country journey aids in their individual quests to find out and embrace what it means to still be here after loss.

 

This article was originally published in the February 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
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