Thursday, January 20, 2011

In Plain Sight

I know the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping was a while ago and everyone including Elizabeth and her family has moved on, right? I'm intrigued. I requested this book at the library. It didn't just catch my eye while browsing a shelf. I wanted to see inside the Smart family. I'm curious as to what grounding this family has that they are fully functional and able to overcome such amazing odds.I loved this book.

First I loved it because it is written from the Smart family perspective. Tom Smart is Elizabeth's uncle. He's a bit neurotic, sleep deprived and excitable ~ someone I can identify with ;o) The book is based upon his thoughts, the family interaction and information that Elizabeth shared about her abduction. This book is NOT a painful detailed retelling of Elizabeth's horrible ordeal. Enough is there to get the full understanding but not to the extent of uncomfortable voyeurism.

As sadistic as it sounds I appreciated the emotional roller coaster ride of the book. We know the outcome, we know the when, where and (we thought) how of her rescue. However, the presentation doesn't skip to the chase. Smart takes us along the twists and turns of the investigation and also the emotional coping mechanisms of many members of the family. The guarded hope and despair of especially Ed & Lois is especially moving. They committed that they wouldn't allow whomever did this horrible deed to ruin the children's lives that were left behind. What a powerful action and completely devoid of the tunnel focus that would surely be most parents downfall, even to the extent of ruining marriages in these situations.

And of course the Mormon religion is included in the book. I love reading about all religions so this was an additional perk. Tom Smart was the self proclaimed family deviant from the LDS church, so the book isn't preachy. Most of the book is purely facts about how the family and also the kidnappers religion interwoven with their personal stories.

And finally I love this book because we all know there is a happy ending :o) The suspense is not lost due to this prior knowledge. The writing is able to still build the anticipation and celebrate the joyous just as though it were happening in real time.

My only challenge with the book: it's powerful. As a parent parts were heartbreaking and I needed to walk away. But how could one possibly discuss a real-life kidnapping and parents' anguish and sugar coat it?

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