Sun. Aug 14th, 2022

My Abandonment, by Peter Rock, is a novel about a young homeless girl named Caroline living in a national park with her father. They are discovered, causing policemen and wildlife officers apprehend them and kick them out of the park. Afterwards, Caroline begins her real journey as authorities attempt to integrate her into society. Caroline’s father is presented as kind and caring when they live in the woods. However, he does not trust anyone connected to society, cities, or the outside world. As a result, Caroline develops an innocence that made her first-person account of the evils of the outside world jarring and depressing.

The use of first person offers the reader a clear view of Caroline’s inability to understand the outside world. In simple terms, Caroline explains the world around her, giving another perspective on what might seem mundane to us. The view is also used to filter out details that a reader might expect to be there–to put them in the same strange and uncertain situation as Caroline. This uncommon style of storytelling makes the book feel remarkably unique.

As the title foreshadows, Caroline must eventually part ways with her father and continue her life of social isolation in solitude. Caroline’s father has instilled in her that she and he are, at the core, different from the rest of the world, which is why the world cannot understand them, and they must hide to avoid the gaze of authority. Setting up this contrast between his characters and his readers, Rock’s work is a very interesting read. Towards the end of the book, the reader is allowed to piece together from small clues the truth behind Caroline’s father without Caroline or the novel ever stating it. Rock ties loose ends so that no details will be left unknown when the story closes.

Overall, My Abandonment is a fantastic and unique novel, written in an interesting style that few books before it have explored. The cast of characters is small yet each character is interesting and complex. The novel should be recommended to anyone who enjoys reading books in-depth to grasp the subtleties of every sentence.

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