My Lost Daughter Book Review

While Review Spew sometimes receive free items to review, we are in no way a shill for the companies/persons who send these items.  That being said, we thank PR by the book for sending a copy of the book being reviewed today.

On the other hand, I will give a large, but by no means exhaustive list of items we would graciously accept for free and review---and line up to become a shill for the company:
Tickets to any sporting event except the WNBA
Movie tickets
The newest generation Ipod Nano
Tuition assistance for our offspring
Any anti-Lady Gaga clothing
An Alaskan Cruise
A bit part in the upcoming Arrested Development movie
Lunch with Jim Gaffigan (his treat)
The opportunity to shoot paintballs at a nude Spencer Pratt

I'm going to be up front and honest before I share my feelings in this review---I generally do not read many books written by women.  I'm not sexist...in fact, I'm more misanthrope than misogynist. 
Oh, there was a good stretch of Patricia Cornwell books I read, but that was mainly because my wife had bought them and I ran across them in the bookshelf.
I can't say that I consciously choose books written by men either.  I generally choose a well-reviewed book, or something suggested by a friend.  It's not like my entire library is dominated with Penthouse letters that begin "I never thought it would happen to me!!"

I am currently knee-deep in a 6500 page Clancy novel, and received My Lost Daughter by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg.  This seemed to be an opportunity to take a week-long break from the unbelievably detailed explanation of fighter jets, submarines and Jack Ryan. 
If you think you've read this book before, it's not the story of Sally Field being abused by an Islamic husband in Iran.  That's Not without my Daughter, and is a horribly boring movie. (She escapes to America--hah--too late for a spoiler alert)

This book is a continuation on previous Rosenberg books, and I was afraid I'd be missing out on key pieces of information.  Luckily, the author weaves Lost-like flashbacks quite well into the story in order to keep you informed.
The "back-cover" explanation of the lead character (Lily Forester)---a California Judge who has dealt with unspeakable horrors in her past and personal life, is back trying to protect her daughter from unspeakable horrors in the present. (who also dealt with unspeakable horrors in her past)

The first 50-60 pages are painfully slow.  You'll also come across 2 fairly detailed sex scenes in this span.  I had to flip back to the front cover to make sure that there wasn't a picture of Fabio riding a horse with an unbuttoned shirt.  The first quarter of the book reads more like a Lifetime Network movie starring Kim Cattrall rather than a thriller.  The un-empathatic main character spends most of her time thinking about her failed personal relationships and sex.  I can get this watching Keeping up with the Kardashians.

Luckily the author brings the daughter of the main character into the story. (Shana)  The main plot-line of the book involves Lily becoming very concerned about her daughters mental state after a breakup with a boyfriend.  She tries to temporarily place her into a mental institution so that she can receive some medication to help her sleep.  The mental home uses deceit to keep the daughter there for an extended period of time to collect on her insurance, while her Mother heads back home to preside in a trial and have more sex.

The story of the daughter in the mental institution is by far the most interesting portion of the book.  You're always guessing who is friend or foe, whether her behavior is caused by medication or not, and her plan to escape from the hospital.  The dynamic with the other patients is fascinating, and the injustice of how the hospital breaks the law is riveting.
I personally hoped the hospital and it's crooked owners were to be the main antogonist in the book.  Unfortunately I was wrong. 
Her Mother finally decides to get her out of the hospital, and really has no trouble doing so. (so disappointing given the that this is the main source of tension throughout the book)  Shana goes home to live with her Mom after this to live happily ever after. (Or is it??!!!)

While previously in the hospital, Shana meets an intriguing patient with whom she has sex (like Mother like daughter), and grows very close to him.  Without ruining the ending, I'll just say that a poorly-placed side-story of an FBI agent trailing a murderer who finds his victims in a Suicide club collides with Shana and her Mother.  The ending is without tension or suspense, and almost unravels what is a halfway decent book.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I may be jaded by my choice of male authors, so that I can't identify with the story the author is trying to share.  I felt no empathy or identification with any character except Shana.  Lily acts more like the Mom in Home Alone than a woman who kicks butt and takes names.  While one minute she is in tears regarding the state of her daughter, the next moment she is being seduced by her boyfriend.  This makes the story disjointed, and less believable.

  I give My Lost Daughter a 2-star rating solely for the plot with Shana in the mental institution.  The rest feels like it should be an Oxygen movie starring Judith Light.


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