My Abandonment

My Abandonment

by Peter Rock

Paperback(First Edition)

$13.49 $14.99 Save 10% Current price is $13.49, Original price is $14.99. You Save 10%. View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Friday, October 25



A thirteen-year-old girl and her father live in Forest Park, an enormous nature preserve in Portland, Oregon. They inhabit an elaborate cave shelter, wash in a nearby creek, store perishables at the water’s edge, use a makeshift septic system, tend a garden, even keep a library of sorts. Once a week they go to the city to buy groceries and otherwise merge with the civilized world. But one small mistake allows a backcountry jogger to discover them, which derails their entire existence, ultimately provoking a deeper flight.

 Inspired by a true story and told through the startlingly sincere voice of its young narrator, Caroline, My Abandonment is a riveting journey into life at the margins and a mesmerizing tale of survival and hope.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780156035521
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 04/02/2010
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 225
Sales rank: 224,602
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.64(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Peter Rock is the author of four previous novels, most recently The Bewildered, and a collection of stories, The Unsettling. He teaches writing at Reed College.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher



“Peter Rock’s My Abandonment is an electrically charged, bone-deep and tender tale of loss and partial redemption. Surreal, haunting, elegiac.”—James Ellroy

“This beautiful, strange novel takes us into the foreign country where those called homeless are at home, the city is wilderness, and the greater wilderness lies beyond. Fascinating and moving, it tells with great tenderness how human love goes wrong.”—Ursula K. Le Guin

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

My Abandonment 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
My Abandonment is a stark tale of what happens to people who live outside what is considered the norm. Caroline and her father live hidden away in a 5,400 acre park outside Portland, Oregon. They live by their own code, never stealing, respecting the world around them, and with Caroline being homeshcooled by her father. They are safe until a small slip allows the authorities to find them and force them to live in a way more acceptable to society. This is a frightening yet fascinating look at the lives of people living on the edge. Caroline is forced to grow up fast and to be stronger and more resourceful then any person should ever have to be. My heart ached for her while I admired her at the same time.
pjpick More than 1 year ago
November's choice for my face to face book club. The story was inspired by newspaper story the author had seen. It discussed how a young girl was found living in the forest with her father. The author always wondered what became of her and used the inspiration to write his first novel. Although written in straightforward prose, it took me a while to get used to the author's style. The first time I started it I had to put it down after about 20 pages, it felt as if I was walking into the middle of a conversation and wasn't able to figure out what was going on. Picked it up again after about a week and was able to read on through. I don't want to give too much away so my remarks will be cryptic and guarded. In the beginning of the book I wanted to give Father the benefit of the doubt about being individualistic in how he was raising his daughter (i.e. just because it isn't society's "norm" does it make it wrong?) but later it was clear I could not. The author walks the middle line on our perceptions of Father (for a while, at least) and he does an excellent job of depicting how children can be altered by lifestyles. I predict an intense discussion with this one.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Caroline and her father live in a forest park just outside Portland, Oregon. Her father has taught Caroline how to survive without technology or man-made things. She does not go to school - instead she learns from reading an old set of encyclopedias. Caroline plants a garden, observes wildlife from the tops of tall trees, and accompanies her father into the city when they run low on supplies. They are usually ignored, and are careful not to draw attention. It is almost inevitable that Caroline makes a mistake. Father and daughter are taken into police custody and given the opportunity to lead "normal" lives. This type of normalcy is not welcome, and the two flee in search of a simpler existence once again. I will be honest; it was difficult for me to become attached to the story. The dialogue between Caroline and her father is choppy and sporadic at times. It was difficult for Caroline's father to express himself; therefore, he relied on the words of someone else, a famous author, like Thoreau, for instance. At first, I felt nothing for Caroline, but that changed as I followed her on this strange journey. Caroline's father obviously loved her, but could not come to terms with his own inner demons. Caroline's story is beautiful, bizarre, and surreal. MY ABANDONMENT will make you think, and perhaps be grateful for what you already have.
TigerLMS on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
13 year old Caroline isn't experiencing a typical childhood. She lives in the woods of a large park near Portland, Oregon. It's the only existence she's known, and she's well schooled in the art of avoiding notice, keeping their semi-permanent home of tree branches and tarps well hidden, and being able to pack up and move at a moment's notice. Yet one afternoon Caroline makes a small mistake and their home is discovered, which leads to the father and daughter being brought in for questions and a battery of wellness tests for Caroline. This is a dark take on a childhood, and the ending is not what most would hope to see.
WeeziesBooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My Abandonment by Peter Rock tells the story of Caroline, a 13 year old girl and her father, living in self made camps in Forest Park, a large nature preserve near Portland, Oregon. There was a true case, documented in the newspapers in Portland of a father and his young daughter in very similar circumstance. This story was part of the key idea this for Rock¿s book and has many key ideas that are similar to the true event that took place in Oregon. Caroline was the narrator of the book and the story is told from her perspective. Rock does a very good job of keeping the tone of the book true to the thoughts and actions of what a young girl might be experiencing and feeling. This is no easy task. I was privileged to hear Mr Rock read from his book for `Woodland Reads, a local citywide read in Woodland California. I believe the book was an excellent choice for use in our schools as well in our community. From the description of homeless camps to the involvement of outside agencies, the progression in the book is smoothly transitioned. For Caroline¿s father, the challenges of making a new home hospitable and safe, having few resources and staying below the radar of others, the scenes Rock portrays are compelling and rich in detail and interest. This book can evoke and foster discussions of relationships, the impact of traumatic events on individual lives and the importance of education and family. I would recommend this book to YA and adult readers alike. I give it a 4 star rating.
coolmama on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Caroline is 15 years old and lives in an underground cave/hut covered with leaves, inside a public park in Portland Oregon with Father, who suffers nightmares of helicopters from some unnamed War. They live in the wild, forage, keep to themselves away from any part of society. Caroline is homeschooled by Father - with a set of encyclopedias (up to the letter L) and a dictionary. She is very bright, aware of both herself and keenly aware of her surroundings, and has a deep attachment to Father.Told from a 15 year olds perspective who remembers very little before life in the woods four years prior, this beautifully told and somewhat creepy (based on a true) story was a really good read!
fig2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Based on a true story of a father and his teenage daughter who actually lived in Forest Park in Portland, Oregon for six or so years. No one knew they were there and the city residents really were affected by their story when it finally came to light. Peter Rock is a writing professor at Reed College in Portland, and he has obviously done his research, as well as understanding the outcry of the city residents on behalf of the family. His prose is spare and slight, yet heavy with meaning; a seemingly impossible task that he pulls off with complete grace.There are a couple of surprises toward the end that I did not see coming at all and I actually *gasped* out loud! Rock managed to find a way to twist his little book in a totally different direction than I had anticipated. Well done, Mr. Rock!This little beautifully written gem is excellent and absolutely perfect!
LynnSigman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Combined listening and reading, although didn't love reader. Interesting story of thirteen year old girl living outside society with her father in Forest Park, Oregon. When they are "caught", she has trouble reentering society. Ending kind of left open to interpretation. Good for YA readers.
justpeachy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In 2004, a man and his 12-year-old daughter were discovered living in Portland's Forest Park, where they had been staying for the past four years. Authorities discovered that they were happy and healthy and so they offered them a home and employment at a Washington County horse farm. But after a short amount of time, the father and daughter left the farm and haven't been seen again. Intrigued by the story and how little was known about them, Peter Rock decided to write a fictional story about the pair. The first half of the book embellishes on the known facts of the story, and the second half of the book speculates on where they went after they disappeared. The story is told from the perspective of 13-year-old Caroline, who dutifully follows her father's lead, rarely questioning his actions or motivations. He loves and cares for his daughter, even though other people see his purposefully homeless lifestyle as being detrimental to his daughter's well-being. This is a simple but well-told story that will leave you thinking about the characters long after you've finished the book.
sharlene_w on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Inspired by a true-life incident where a father and daughter were found living off-the-grid and then basically forced to integrate into society and then mysteriously disappeared again. I found the story interesting and believable up until the yurt / cave incidents. It slid downhill from there with a storyline that seemed unlikely, disconnected and unbelievable. I did enjoy the father-daughter characters, however. I would like to know who they really were, why they chose that lifestyle and what really happened to them. I doubt if this contrived story is anything near as interesting as the true story. (Listened to audiobook)
alexann on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Haunting story of a young girl making her way in the world--her own way, not somebody else's. Caroline lives with her father in the forest. They are not quite homeless--they build comfortable shelters, and learn the ways of the forest. Caroline learns to walk silently through the woods, to climb trees where she spends time observing the natural world around her. Her father is wise in many ways--but perhaps not as stable as he would like Caroline to believe. Their life is idyllic--until someone from the city catches sight of Caroline, and realizes that she and her father are living in the forest and she is not going to school. Beautifully written and a stunningly unusual story!
bobbieharv on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very strange book. I really liked the beginning, about a supposed father and daughter living in an urban wilderness; going into town to collect his checks and buy food; and how they managed to hide from everyone. Why they had to hide isn't clear till the end, when it gets a bit creepy. I wish there had been more detail about what it was like in the beginning, before she got Stockholm syndrome (I guess that's what we're supposed to think - it was a bit unclear).
sfisk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very fast paced read. Almost immediately you are hooked by the narrators unique view of the world around her. As her story unfolds you understand why she has had to develop that perspective, living outside society by choice.She lives almost exclusively in her head, and there is no display of emotion regardless of what hardships they must endure. Yet there is a depth and almost a warmth in the precise, analytical way she recounts events. Never judging, and always recalling a memory or "lesson" that explains the situations they find themselves confronted with.All in all it was a fascinating look into a life we can't even imagine, but is not so far removed to be implausible. I enjoyed it thoroughly !
mckait on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Valor consists in the power of self discovery"There are many such quotations in the book. A book filled with both bits of wisdom and mounting horror. Caroline is a thirteen year old girl. She and her father are homeless, and living in a public forest. It doesn't take long to realize that her father is both mentally ill and very protective and loving in his own peculiar way.Caroline is "home schooled" meaning that her father, who is not unintelligent, sees to her education. They visit the public library in the town nearest to them. Caroline has encyclopedias which she reads, and she is taught math and an odd sort of philosophy among other things, by her dad.Although Caroline has been warned to stay out of sight at all times, they do live on public land, and inevitably, one day she is spotted. What follows is enough to give you hope that she will somehow be given an opportunity to live a more typical life.The characters in this book are compelling, especially Caroline. I was impressed to find a teenage girl so well portrayed by a male writer. There was something very unique about the writing style of this book, the cadence of the text. I found this book to be difficult to put down. It is so easy to become deeply involved in the story, you just want to go on and on. I will recommend this to friends, it is a very good read.
slatta on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Thought-provoking, beautifully told, often disturbing. Although the narrator is 13 years old, it's not a YA novel. It could very well be a crossover novel for some teens, however. Inspired by a true story. One of the best books of 2009, IMO.
frisbeesage on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My Abandonment is a stark tale of what happens to people who live outside what is considered the norm. Caroline and her father live hidden away in a 5,400 acre park outside Portland, Oregon. They live by their own code, never stealing, respecting the world around them, and with Caroline being homeshcooled by her father. They are safe until a small slip allows the authorities to find them and force them to live in a way more acceptable to society. This is a frightening yet fascinating look at the lives of people living on the edge. Caroline is forced to grow up fast and to be stronger and more resourceful then any person should ever have to be. My heart ached for her while I admired her at the same time.
Esta1923 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My Abandonment by Peter Rock is based on fact. He has extrapolated from actual news items about a father and daughter who for several years lived outside of society, quite near a metropolitan area. In an interview (available on You Tube) he tells us that his preparation for the novel involved spending time in the park area where they¿d been discovered, and actually going to places where he imagined they might have gone when they fled.Rock¿s portraits are believable, including the dialogue. Given an intelligent (although traumatized ) man, and an impressionable pre-teen daughter their years together might have been spent as he reports. The latter chapters are heartbreaking. That Caroline can make her way after her father¿s death is something readers will hope for.~~~I received this book as a gift from an LTf riend, and I thank her here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quick read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was initially enchanted and intrigued by this book, particularly in that it was said to be based on a true story. However, I was emotionally appalled by a sudden, graphically morose turn of events. It took a while before I could resume reading. But after that point, I was distracted and annoyed by aspects of the story that seemed logically impossible. The story may be great for teens. But alas, having understood that the book was based on a true story, these unanswered questions made me lose patience and feel disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read, makes you think. Interesting story but left me with a lot of questions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago