Archive for the ‘Emmy & Oliver’ Category

Emmy and Oliver were best friends since birth. They were born on the same day in the same hospital (their basinets were next to each other) and they lived next door to each other. Their bedrooms faced each other and at night, they would each blink their light when it was bedtime. Emmy, Oliver, Caro (Caroline, but no one ever called her that) and Drew were an inseparable quartet.

When they were seven years old, Oliver disappeared. His father, Keith, kidnapped him. His mother, Maureen, was frantic and tried everything she could to find him, with no luck. After the initial news media frenzy, the public lost interest and things got back to normal, as normal as they could be under the EmmyAndOlivercircumstances. Emmy continued being friends with Caro and Drew. However, Emmy’s parents became over protective of their only child, prohibiting her from doing many things young kids did, forcing on her an early bedtime. As a result, she ended up hiding a lot from her parents.

When she was 17, Oliver returned. The problem with that was several fold: (a) Maureen had remarried and had twin girls, (b) she remembered Oliver as a seven year old boy and that’s who she expected to return and (c) Emmy and Caro and Drew had 10 years of memories, inside jokes and dreams of which Oliver was not a part.

Robin Benway covers a lot in Emmy and Oliver. Most people think of the anguish of parents losing a child to kidnapping. And when we think of kidnapping, as in the news media, it is always children hidden away and brutalized. In Emmy and Oliver, Keith treated Oliver well and after Oliver got over the initial shock of a missing mother, he had a relatively normal life. Yet, thrust back into his mother’s life and home was traumatic for both parent and child.

Benway does a great job of verbalizing the impact of Oliver’s return on everyone, Maureen and her young twins, Emmy, Caro and Drew and especially Oliver. I’m not giving anything away by saying the Emmy & Oliver is a love story. There are some loves that do stand the test of time and separation. But it’s more than that. It’s the story of awakening from a 10 year slumber to find out that things aren’t the same as when you drifted off to sleep…for everyone, not just Oliver. I liked every character in Emmy & Oliver, even Keith. I can understand everyone’s actions and motives. Other than Keith’s actions at the end, I thought everything rang true (not that I was ever involved in the situation described in the book).

I know describing a book as a ‘beach read’ may be the kiss of death, but I don’t mean it to be. Had I received the book when it is issued in June 2015, I can see me sitting under a big shade tree on Cape Cod, listening to the sound of the bay and the seals, reading Emmy & Oliver. So maybe I’ll amend my statement to say it’s a good summer time, feel good, read. I do highly recommend Emmy & Oliver.

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