Tuesday 9 April 2019

Do Not Become Alarmed

Finished April 4
Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy, read by the author.

This book has a lot going on, and more depth than I first thought. Liv and Nora are cousins who have always been close. Liv, a director, introduced Nora, a teacher, to her husband when she had a party that included some of the people involved in one of her films, Raymond is an actor who's had a decent amount of success, allowing Nora to stay at home with their young children, Marcus, eleven and June, six. He's also black, so the kids are mixed race.
Nora had a difficult relationship with her mother, who has died recently, and Liv suggested that the two families, including Liv's husband Ben, and childredn Penny, eleven and Sebastian, eight. take a cruise for the holiday season instead. The cruise leaves from the California coast and goes down the coast of Mexico and Central America.
On board they meet an Argentinian couple that they become friendly with. The couple has two teenage children, sixteen and fourteen.
Mostly they all stay on board the ship and enjoy the amenities, with the adults in particular enjoying the ability to check the kids into the Kids' Club and do their own thing. But as they reach a country that Liv regards as relatively safe, (unnamed, but evidently Costa Rica) they look at doing one of the shore excursions. Liv suggests zip-lining at a location that also has animals, but then the Argentinian man invites the guys for golf with a guy he knows that lives there. So the three women and the kids go on the excursion, an accident causes them to be diverted, the woman and the guide become distracted, and the kids disappear.
The story is told from multiple points of view, including both adults and children. So while the reader knows what is happening with the kids, the parents do not, and always seem to be a step behind what is going on.
There is also a side story of a young Colombian girl Noemi, who is being taken by her uncle from her home with her grandmother to her parents who are in New York illegally.
This is a story of many things, from white privilege to organized crime to migrants. Some of the characters are definitely unlikable, such as Penny, while others have more complex personalities. I liked Marcus quite a bit. I enjoyed the read and the ideas here.

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