We Now Return to Regular Life by Martin Wilson (review)
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Reviewed by
Wilson, Martin We Now Return to Regular Life. Dial, 2017 [384p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-7352-2782-8 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-7352-2784-2 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 9–12

Three years ago, Beth Walsh’s life changed when her little brother rode away on his bike and never came back. Now Sam has been found and his abductor captured, and her life is changing again. Narration shifts between Beth and Sam’s old friend Josh to chronicle Sam’s complicated return as a post-adolescent fourteen-year-old to the family and friends he last knew at eleven—and their adjustment to the difference. It’s hard to compete with Matthieu’s Afterward (BCCB 9/16) for a compelling treatment of a returned abductee, and Wilson’s story is a more expected movie-of-the-week style chronicle. It’s a readable saga, though, and it gains additional emotional complexity from the fact that the few good relationships eleven-year-old Sam managed during his abduction—a friend in the same apartment complex, a girlfriend—are being erased by adults. The book interestingly leaves the long-term impact of the abuse, especially the sexual abuse, a question mark (the unexpected hand job Sam gives a sleepy Josh suggests sexually gratifying someone is clearly emotional currency for him), especially in light of Sam’s fear that no one will ever be able to love him. The premise will provide an immediate hook for readers, and they’ll be absorbed in the dramatic story. [End Page 45]

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