Brooke Davis’ story of a little girl named Millie Bird turns child abandonment into an adventure. After her father dies and her mother leaves her in the ladies’ underwear department, Millie finds two improbable helpers: Karl, who types out everything he says or feels with his fingers, and Agatha, who writes complaint letters and catalogs her aging body’s daily changes. Karl and Agatha, both in their 80s and widowed, have lived long lives but don’t quite know how to live now. Millie’s predicament gives them a reason to try.
In Lost & Found, Australian author Davis renders Millie, especially, in careful detail—she’s fragile, yet not completely unhinged by all the upheaval in her life. Millie comes across as a 7-year-old should: curious, experimental, hopeful, afraid but covering with bravado and optimism. From vantage points further on, Karl and Agatha are doing much the same.
Davis’ vivid imagining of the grieving process as a roller coaster of questions with no easy answers reflects some of her personal struggle, as her mother’s sudden death occurred not long before she began this project. Readers will find themselves pondering difficult questions along with Millie, Karl and Agatha. A literal cross-country journey aids in their individual quests to find out and embrace what it means to still be here after loss.