Say this was all in hopes of glimpsing something beautiful. And is there anything wrong with that?
I found this book while I was deep in a trailer watching hole on IMDB. You all know what I’m talking about. After watching the trailer I decided to put it on my queue and quickly went to work finding the book on my kindle, which I found for $3.99. It’s hard for me to spend more than $7 on a book for my kindle, but it’s been known to happen.
This book was disturbing. And yet, it was one of the most beautifully written books I’ve read in a while. This book isn’t for people who aren’t comfortable with people “pushing boundaries”. Lamb is about a man, David Lamb, whose life seems to be falling apart. His father dies, you assume Cathy is his wife and that they are separating, he seems bored with his love Linnie, and just bored all around with life. That’s when he meets Tommie. Sitting on a bus bench outside of a store she approaches him and asks for a cigarette. This is where things start to push in to “disturbing” territory. He “pretends” to abduct her to “teach her friends a lesson”. He throws her in to his car and then just proceeds to tell her that it’s all a joke. Ya know, haha.
After he takes her home he can’t stop thinking about her, yeah I know. He decides to go back to the bench and lo and behold guess who walks up, Tommie. They create this relationship where he would pick her up every morning before school and make sure she ate a good meal then he would drop her off at school and pick her up later sometimes. Now, through out this whole bit I just kept telling myself “He’s just trying to help her. Little girl without a father figure.” Then things take a turn for the ultra disturbing.
Lamb asks Tommie if she wants to go on a road trip and see the mountains. She says yes. He takes her to a nice hotel and buys her some new clothes, promising to always treat her right and that he won’t touch her or kiss her. “Say ‘ok. Gary.” Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that he gives her a fake name, Gary. He also coaches her through out the book to say things back to him which is also pretty disturbing. In the hotel is where you also find out that Tommie is in fact 11 years old; something that good ol’ David/Gary didn’t know either.
They embark on this road trip stopping sometimes at hotels where David/Gary keeps Tommie up at night telling her stories about horses and how he is the horse and that she will take care of him when he is old and grey. The end up at the cabin that they were trying to get to and things just fall deeper in to the rabbit hole. For a brief second we get back to “father figure” mode, but all that quickly evaporates when he tells the clerk at the store that she is his niece and her name is Emily.
I know what you’re thinking, but the word abduction is only said twice in the entire book. But let’s call apples apples, shall we. He coerced a young girl to come with him on a road trip that was not sanctioned by her mother. At one point Tommie puts all of her cold weather clothes on to make a run for it, gets to the fence and turns around. Good ol’ David/Gary even grapples with what the actual f*ck did he’s doing.
Because he knew exactly what the rest of her life would be after he returned her, and it was a bleak and terrible secret that he and all the world were keeping from her, and his withholding was the worst of all, because his presence in her life–this sudden and unusual friendship–might be the only bright spot, the only break in an otherwise scripted life.
Honestly, I couldn’t put this book down. I needed to find out what happened. Did David/Gary get arrested? Does he keep her with him for the rest of her life? Does Tommie run away? I actually enjoyed the book. It was a nail biter and the subject matter is delicate, but it was actually an easy read. It’s not going to be for everybody. But I think that’s what Ms. Nadzam was going for. To get the reader to really think about the borders of friendship and what makes it tip into forbidden territory.