The Book of Lost Friends

Lisa Wingate. Ballantine, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-1-984819-88-8
In this disappointing outing, Wingate (Before We Were Yours) explores the history of a small Louisiana town where a new teacher’s attempt to connect with her students leads her to learn about the difficult lives of three women. After the Civil War, freed slave Hannie Gossett works at Goswood Grove as a sharecropper and spends years hoping her mother, who was sold during the war, will return. In 1875, Hannie, in hopes of finding her family, follows the daughters of the man who once owned her to Texas, where he disappeared. In 1987, Benny Silva arrives in Augustine, La., to teach at a high school with an apathetic student body. As a ploy to capture their imaginations, she researches Goswood Grove and finds records about Hannie’s journey to Texas. Though the twists of Hannie’s and Benny’s stories will keep readers guessing, the book is marred by a lack of depth, and Hannie’s reliance on and trust in her former owner is frustratingly unquestioned. Benny, meanwhile, who likens her own experiences as an Italian-American to those of her impoverished students of color, comes off as naive. This underwhelming tale is sunk by its surfeit of deficiencies. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 03/31/2020
Release date: 04/07/2020
Genre: Fiction
Book - 978-1-9848-1989-5
Paperback - 576 pages - 978-0-593-28641-8
Compact Disc - 978-0-593-21325-4
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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