Monday, October 09, 2023

Take, by Jennifer Bradbury

When her father disappears, Cara fears the worst. After all, it's not the first time this has happened.  He's done this before when he's gone off his meds, but usually she is able to find him within a few days.  This time, when Cara drops by his house, he's been gone for a week or more.  She finds maps, books, and (mysteriously) photographs of Japanese concentration camps pinned up on the wall.  More seriously, she finds his climbing gear missing.

When he was still healthy, Dad was a great climber and taught and Cara to be one as well. But climbing is a team effort and he's in no shape to be going it alone.  Whatever fool mission he has developed, he is in trouble.  So, with the awkward help of her ex-boyfriend, Cara searches for her Dad and tries to unravel what has made him go off the rails this time.  It's a search that will take her dep into her family's history and into a dangerous ascent.

Interspersed with a series of flashbacks of an ill-fated romance between a CCC worker and a Japanese-American farmgirl at the start of World War II, Take is an ambitious and ultimately uplifting story of love, family, and fateful choices, wrapped in a mountain climbing drama.  Bradbury does an amazing job providing a primer on climbing and the jargon of mountain climbers that guides the reader through a suspenseful journey into the mind and the madness of the sport.  And the contra positioning of mountain climbing and Japanese detention during WWII, while seemingly unrelated, comes together in a moving climax.

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