Monday, March 28, 2016

#collaboreads: A Memoir

Memoirs are one of my favorite genres to read.  I easily selected a book this month.  In fact, I was able to incorporate a book that was on my ABC Reads Challenge list.  Shameless plug - feel free to join Mia and me as we host a monthly link-up that provides a place for our fellow bookworms to review a book that begins with each of the 26 letters in our lovely alphabet over the course of 2016.  It's never too late to join the fun.  Learn more HERE!  Now...back to my selection for #collaboreads this month - The Year We Disappeared: A Father-Daughter Memoir by Cylin Busby and John Busby.

What part of the book could you NOT get enough of?

I simply could not put this book all.  I read it in two days.  I was caught up in the story from the first flip of the cover.  It alternated between Cylin, in her 9-year old voice, and her father's perspective on the tragic and miraculous events of his near murder in their small Massachusetts beach town in the late summer of 1979.  John was a respected third shift police officer with a wife in nursing school and three young children at home.  The book only covered a brief portion of time following that fateful night but did a great job of incorporating prior stories and events seamlessly into the story. 

How did you relate to/care for the characters?
What's your thought on the plot line and twists and turns?

I related more to Cylin than John, but thoroughly enjoyed both perspectives.  Growing up, my dad was a principal (and later a teacher) so I could relate to Cylin's feelings about being in the spotlight and having people treat her in a certain (good or bad) manner based on circumstances she was unable to control.  I really felt for her and her brothers.  At the same time, I could identify with John's frustrations with the police force for not doing more to solve his case.  He was also left to deal with having so much of his identity stripped from him when he was unable to speak let alone go back to work.  I also had so much sympathy for John's wife.  Even though they had family nearby to help and great friends to lean on, she really had to be the strong and firm voice that held them all together...and it could NOT have been easy in any possible way.  There are a few twists and turns along the way, but the story is pretty straight forward.  I was surprised that more of the book didn't focus on the family's life after their eventual relocation.  However, I got caught up in the descriptive way life after the incident was presented that I didn't realize it until the book was finished.

What other books are like this one? If none, did it remind you of a particular TV or movie with it's themes and characters? Does it serendipitous-ly line-up with things going on in your life or the news right now? 

After watching Making A Murderer and following much of the unnecessary police violence incidents over the past few years, I was interested discover that our justice system was just as corrupt in the early 80s.  It's an awful shame, but I was shocked by the stories of low level criminals running the town at will.  John stood up to the corruption and nearly paid his life for it.  If nothing else, I recommend reading this book just to get a closer first hand account of the workings of the police department in small town America.  Similarly, I just finished The Rising: Murder, Heartbreak, and the Power of Human Resilience in an American Town by Ryan D'Agostino.  This one doesn't focus on corruption as much as recovery in the midst of horrible tragedy.  Ironically, a great follow-up read.

You know you judged this book by the cover. What did you think of it? 
How did it relate to the contents of the novel? And the font and layout of the pages? 

The design proves intriguing.  John's police ID and an authentic, innocent image of Cylin with a pet turtle in their yard is a great snapshot of the family before life turned upside down.  Both images on the cover are addressed in the first part of the book bringing even more meaning to them.

How many out of five do you give this book? Would you recommend this book to a friend?  

I give this book 4.5 stars!  It is an incredible story, but I wanted a little more on life post-disappearing.  The focus was on everything leading up to the disappearing with a couple chapters after the family's relocation.  Definitely recommend giving it a read though!

Andrea :)


  1. I LOVE memoirs, they are my favorite type of book to read by far. Glad you shared this one and gave it such a great review- I will add it to my reading list! :)

  2. Wow, this book sounds really interesting and heartbreaking at the same time!!

  3. Ahhh, stop reading such amazing sounding books. Just kidding, don't stop, I love it, more for my TBR list. :-D

    Can't wait for ABC Reads, wahooo!

  4. oooooooh, I love how you tied this one in to Making a Murderer because I think it fits SO PERFECTLY with that conversation. I also adore the idea of a father-daughter perspective because it's so under-utilized in the literary world today! definitely have to add this one to my list because all parts of it seem up my alley!