Here's the deal: My Abandonment is the story of 13-year-old Caroline, who has been living off the grid with her father in Forest Park, Portland, Oregon for the past four years.
The story is loosely based on the story of a young girl and her father who were actually found living in Forest Park back in 2004. Author Peter Rock followed their tale in the news. The daughter had been homeschooled and was healthy and well-educated. The pair was relocated by Portland authorities to a more traditional home and gifted with material goods by Portland community.
And then one day, they disappeared.
The novel is about their imagined experience, both in the park and afterwards. And it's at once hopeful and inspiring while also frightening and disturbing. The beginning of the book, which describes the pair's somewhat utopian and naturalistic life in the park is slow moving, but from the moment they are discovered, the plot races along.
Since the story is told from the first-person perspective of a girl who doesn't fully understand the world, a lot of questions are left unanswered, and some readers might find that frustraing, but in my opinion, the unanswered questions are the best thing about this book. It leaves you thinking about what might have happened, what really happened, what might happen next.
Like I said, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.
Here's a video of Peter Rock talking about his inspiration:
It forces you to imagine a different kind of life. And that's a good thing.