Saturday, April 18, 2009

Book Review: Gone by Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson

Book: Gone
Author: Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson
Published: 2007

Nobody's ever stayed with Connor. He grew up with alcoholic parents whom he could never trust to put him before the booze. Now he's living with a great-aunt, but he's always longed for the security of a real family.

Suddenly, there's Ms Timms. Corinna. Once his teacher, now something much, much more. Even though he's seventeen and she thirty-one, this is love. He knows it. Has Connor finally found the one person who will always stay?

The jacket copy of this book makes much of the student-teacher angle of this book, but it didn't wind up being that important. While Johnson makes it clear that they noticed each other while he was her student, the relationship doesn't truly get underway until after he has graduated high school.

Corinna is a conundrum--is she using him? does she love him? we never quite figure that out--but that really doesn't matter. What matters is what Connor feels about the relationship. He sees in it his salvation, his chance to be first in someone's (anyone's) heart.

What he doesn't realize (and we do, quite quickly) is that his aunt, his friends, and even his next-door neighbors are a kind of assembled family who all love him and watch out for him. But he insists on holding them at arm's length, scrupulously repaying his aunt for any money she spends on him and resisting his best friend's efforts to understand what's going on. This blindess may be difficult for some readers to sympathize with, but he eventually gets there.

Counter to the advertising, don't go into this book expecting a salacious tale of clandestine molestation. Instead, prepare yourself for a story about a young man learning that love comes in many forms, and the one that seems obvious isn't the one that's going to stay.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Actually, reading your review makes me more likely to check this one out! Thanks! :)