The Sweet Relief of Missing Children follows the lives of several teens and preteens over two generations. As you may have guessed from the title, this is not a “feel-good” story. each child is faced with many different challenges that overwhelm them. A good example is Paul – renamed Pax – who, try as he might, can never run far enough away to be free of his negligent mother’s memory, and Grace the average mother who, as a teenager, swore that she would never marry. Each character whirls along their own little path, meeting each other in unanticipated ways, then moving on, slightly lessened by the experience.
Despite the negativity of the stories, Sarah Braunstein executes the book amazingly well I and highly recommend this book. Admittedly, this book is not for everyone. If you prefer the happy fuzzy books, or if you do not like reading about teenagers in adult situations, this is not the book for you. If, however, you read books for a well written story and like to feel the characters reach out and pull your emotions, then The Sweet Relief of Missing Children should be the next book on your list.
Review written by Josh Barnes, Portneuf Library Staff