Friday, March 23, 2018
A Psalm for Lost Girls, by Katie Bayerl
Everyone seems to have an agenda except for Callie, who simply wants her sister to regain the life that others stole from her to make her something she wasn't. But is Callie really son altruistic? Does she really have a sober vision of Tess or has she simply found a way to beatified her in her own way? As the community suffers from a seemingly unrelated child abduction (and then "miraculous" reappearance), questions about Tess's sanctity and Callie's inability to let go come to a head.
The very interesting premise of this novel -- the fine line between grief and honoring the dead -- gets muddied by so many other things in this literary debut. The story I most wanted to read (the tension between mother and living daughter) is there but clouded and eventually overrun by the psychopath child abductor subplot. And the similarly interesting story of the two sisters, compounded by their attraction to the same boy, just drops off the radar. Added to the mix are elements about church conspiracy, a struggling New England community, and a complicit media that make for interesting swirl but largely distract from the meat of the story. There are so many wonderful ways this story could have gone, but instead it just limps to its meager conclusion amidst unrealized ambitions.