Do Not Become Alarmed - Maile Meloy

Staff Pick
Meloy has always been a tremendous storyteller, and in this fast-paced novel she uses an almost relentless plotting to dramatize complicated questions of chance, merit, and control. The story centers on three families taking a Central American cruise. In an escalating chain of events, none worrying in and of itself, six children disappear. Is it the adults’ fault, for not paying attention? Have they “failed as parents”? Following both the search and the children’s experience, Meloy shows how each decision or impulse leads to the next, all taking the children farther from rescue, though that’s not always how it seems. As the consequences of so many actions mount up, it becomes harder to judge the wisdom or foolishness of any of them. Second-guessing gets the characters nowhere, nor does blame or criticism. At the same time, this isn’t quite a random universe: if not all ends happily for every parent, the worst of the bad guys does pay with his life. But Meloy never uses her characters simply as philosophical pawns. She brings each to vivid life with just a few deft touches, and we know them intimately, voices, temperaments, and flaws. Finally, by giving us the story from the full range of its participants, Meloy shows us the privileged Californians from perspectives other than their own, and we can place instances of casual privilege—a spoiled kid disdaining a bruised banana—along the continuum that let Americans helicopter out of Vietnam, “leaving chaos behind them.”
Do Not Become Alarmed Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735216525
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Riverhead Books - June 6th, 2017

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