March 2009

Clues to a forgotten life

By L.S. Matthews
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The path to “finding oneself” can be a dark and murky one. But those adjectives take on a more frightening realism for the girl who wakes up lying cold and disoriented in a pine forest, wondering who she is, how she got there and where she came from.

So begins Lexi, a tale of literally, and figuratively, finding oneself. Not knowing where to start, the girl wanders the streets until she is taken to a homeless shelter—where pieces of the unknown puzzle of her life begin to fall into place . . . in an intriguing, and somewhat fast-paced, fashion. A motley cast of characters—including a mysterious twin, a celebrity father, a caring grandmother, a deceptive would-be kidnapper and a helpful stranger—lend depth to the story, which is told in first person narrative. 

At the shelter, the girl learns her name (Lexi) and uncovers many more clues to her forgotten life. She also gains compassion for others around her—a quality that brings the story full circle at its conclusion.

The prose is readable with a few potential stumbling points. When the shelter kids weave “stories” that may or may not be real, the lines become a bit blurred and some young readers may be a bit distracted by the symbolism.

In addition to gaining her identity as well as a family, a somewhat surprising, and literal, pot of gold appears at the end of Lexi’s journey. Lest the reader find it unbelievable, the author compassionately ties up all the loose ends in a most satisfying way.

What was once lost has been found, and Lexi finds much more than her identity. She finds a way to give back and to help others who are less fortunate forge a clearer path on their own personal journeys.

As Lexi learns, you can go home again—and it can be an enlightening, and rewarding, experience.

Sharon Verbeten, a former children’s librarian and current freelance writer, makes her home in De Pere, Wisconsin.

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By L.S. Matthews
ISBN 9780385735742

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