Still Missing

Still Missing

by Beth Gutcheon

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Alex Selky, going on seven, kissed his mother goodbye and set off for school, a mere two blocks away. He never made it. Desperate to find him, his mother begins a vigil that lasts for days, then weeks, then months. She is treated first as a tragic figure, then as a grief-crazed hysteric, then as anreminder of the bad fortune that can befall us all. Against all hope, despite false leads and thedesertions of her friends and allies she believes with all her heart that somehow, somewhere, Alex will be found alive.

Beth Gutcheon builds a heartrending suspense that culminates in a climax you will never forget.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399125782
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date: 07/01/1981
Pages: 336

About the Author

Beth Gutcheon is the critically acclaimed author of eight previous novels: The New Girls, Still Missing, Domestic Pleasures, Saying Grace, Five Fortunes, More Than You Know, Leeway Cottage, and Goodbye and Amen. She is the writer of several film scripts, including the Academy Award nominee The Children of Theatre Street. She lives in New York City.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

You could hardly get to age thirty-four without learning something about loss. By thirty-four you're bound to have lost your Swiss Army knife, your best friend from fourth grade, your chance to be center forward on the starting team, your hope of the Latin prize, quite a few of your illusions, and certainly, somewhere along the line, some significant love. Susan Selky had in fact recently lost an old battle, for her marriage to the man she was in love with, and with it, many ancillary dreams of more babies, and of holding his hand in the dark when they were old.

It may be that one loss helps to prepare you for the next, at least in developing a certain rueful sense of humor about things you're too old to cry about. There's plenty of blather, some of it true, about turning pain into growth, using one blow to teach you resilience and to make you ready for the shock of the next one. But the greater truth is that life is not something you can go into training for. There was nothing in life that Susan Selky could have done to prepare for the breathtaking impact of losing her son.

Susan Selky, bright, loyal, stubborn, shy. If you knew her professionally, you probably wouldn't have guessed that whatever accomplished forays she made daily outside, she thought with relief of her narrow brick house on Fremont Street as if it were a shell. Inside, dumb and unguarded as a mollusk was the heart of life, her private days and nights with Alex.

Alexander Graham Selky, Jr., age 6 & 3/4, a freelance spaceman. A small, sturdy child with a two-hundred-watt smile and a giggle like falling water, a child who saw Star Wars once with Mommy,twice with Daddy, and once again with TJ. Owner-trainer of Taxi, an oversized Shetland sheepdog.

Taxi was a near-total loss in the training department. He had only managed to learn to start barking with joy when Alex got home from school, a full minute before any human could have heard his feet on the step, and to smuggle himself soundlessly onto Alex's bed at night against orders. Most evenings when she went to kiss Alex one more time on her own way to bed, Susan found Taxi burrowed against her sleeping boy with his nose in his armpit, still as a statue except for the wistful eyes that tracked her approach and begged, "Pretend you don't see me."

"He thinks he's my brother," said Alex. "He thinks he's a fur person."

Alex Selky, going on seven, so eager to grow up, kissed his mother good-bye on their front steps on the hot bright morning of May 15, 1980, and marched himself down the street on his way to the New Boston School of Back Bay, two blocks from his corner. He never arrived at school, and from the moment he turned the corner, he apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Still Missing. Copyright � by Beth R. Gutcheon. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Still Missing 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
bnbookgirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was good, but it just didn't really grab me. It seemed to be quite run of the mill. You could feel the pain of the mother and father, but, I couldn't get into this story.
bhowell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Still Missing is a thrilling escapist read and well worth being re-published. It is a parent's worst nightmare, a child disappearing into thin air on the way to school.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading this book and I have to say, I am a bit disappointed! I read More Than You Know a few years ago and it was so amazing I figured I'd come back to Gutcheon. It wasn't until the last few pages that I really got into the book. The ending was great (although predictable), the interactions were great towards the end, but the rest of the pages leading up to the end were disappointing. Usually I can find myself feeling emotions of the characters but I just felt like I was being told emotions rather than feeling them this time. It was something different... happy I read it but happy it's over.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book kept me reading until the very end. My only problem with it was the fact that it didn't explain what exactly happened to the main character's child. I would have liked a few extra pages that explained this in detail. Other than that, I enjoyed it.