The Local News by Miriam Gershow is a very emotional novel of a girl coming of age at a very hard time in her life. The story is told through the eyes of Lydia, who at the age of fifteen, has her world turned upside down. Her brother Danny disappears. All of a sudden she and her parents are plastered all over the news and she has become the center of attention. This isn’t anything Lydia is used to and in some ways she likes it.
Lydia has really lived in the shadow of her brother Danny her whole life. When they were kids they got along and she liked him. Once they moved to a new town though all bets were off. Danny sprouted up and became big and brawny, made the football team, and was just generally very popular. Lydia was not. Lydia is torn between missing her brother and what he brought to their household but not missing the Danny he had become who was often mean to her. Not to mention Danny was her parents favorite, another thorn in the situation. With Danny gone, Lydia is getting tons of attention at school but really she doesn’t seem to be the type of person who thrives on it. It’s kind of cool at first but I think it wears off for her quickly.
With Danny gone, the household is in an upheaval. Lydia’s parents walk around in a daze most of the time and all of their attention is focused on finding Danny. They’re talking to reporters, investigators and getting posters out-everything is about Danny. This is understandable of course but in the process they forget about the young and vulnerable daughter they have that is still trying to find her way in the world. Now she is doing that with no guidance whatsoever. She’s allowed to do whatever she wants and go wherever she wants. What really surprised me about Lydia is how well she really turns out considering the circumstances.
Meanwhile, with all this going on, Lydia is growing up. Eventually people stop talking so much about her brother and yet she is still living in the middle of it all. Finally when they learn more about her brother’s disappearance Lydia is left feeling more confused than ever. She thought she’d feel more settled yet she actually feels more lost, like something has been taken from the very center of her being.
This book really shows us the dramatic effects of a tragedy such as the disappearance of a family member. To see it through a young person’s eyes made it even more powerful. While reading Lydia’s thoughts you can feel her pain and confusion and it just breaks your heart at what a lost soul she appears to be. The end of the novel brings things together nicely as it takes us to Lydia as an adult attending a school reunion and coming to terms with who she is, what she wants and what the disappearance of her brother has done to her life and her.
I read The Local News for Miriam Gershow’s TLC Book Tour so many thanks to Lisa for having me participate. Make sure to check out the other TLC tour stops here and Miriam’s webiste here. You can purchase this book here in the US and here in Canada.