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Picture Me Gone

by

Picture Me Gone Cover

 

 

Excerpt

The sound of Finn boiling water woke me at dawn. He wasn't much for talking, especially at that hour, and wouldn't answer any conversation I initiated. Like the hut, he warmed up slowly, and I had a feeling his habit of solitude had existed for so long that it surprised him every morning to find me asleep where his granny had once lain.

It occurred to me that I had been at boarding school for a good many more years than Finn had lived alone, so perhaps my social skills were a little on the odd side as well. Whenever I was at home, I watched my mother chat brightly over breakfast the way an anthropologist might note typical social behaviour of the human species.

I hated getting up in the cold, and slept buried up to my eyes in blankets, removing them only to wrap my hands around a warm cup of tea. Finn had added sugar to mine unprompted and I turned away to hide my flush of pleasure. I knew that if I waited in bed for him to build up the fire and perform his morning tasks, the hut would gradually fill with a kind of fuggy warmth, so I lay still, savouring the familiar sounds and postponing reentry into full consciousness for as long as possible.

Nothing in my life so far compared with those first minutes of the day, half sitting in bed, still swaddled in warmth and with no imperative to move, just staring out of the window as the first pale streaks ignited the sky. I watched boats chug slowly past the windows: fishing boats returning from a long night of work, sailing boats from the nearby estuary taking advantage of the favourable tide, little tugs on their way back to port. At night passenger ships twinkled on the horizon like stars, but the daylight made them invisible.

"We'll take the dinghy," Finn said over his shoulder, heading out of the door. Through the window I watched him go, watched his outline soften and blur as he disappeared into the morning haze. The world had not yet come into focus. Even the sound of the sea seemed muffled, as if heard from a long distance away. From where I sat it was invisible, too, lost in a cloak of grey mist. I knew this moment of half-light wouldn't last, that in less than an hour daylight would have burned off the fog and restored the shape of things.

In the Dark Ages, most of life took place out of doors: the planting, herding, cooking, the buying and selling, the weddings, births, deaths, wars. In Finn's version of life in the twentieth century, not much had changed. Despite the cold, we walked and fished, lay on the beach and stared at the sunlit clouds or the stars in the night sky, pulled in the traps, messed about in boats. We walked to market with his fish or his bag of crabs and, like the Angles and Saxons, exchanged these commodities for things we didn't haveand#151;a hammer, a loaf of bread, a pair of woollen socks.

After only ten days at the hut I could appreciate the advantages of such a world, a world with nothing extra or unnecessary in it. A cooking pot, a place to sleep, a friend, a fireand#151;what more did I require?

I loved the simple richness of our domestic life, the overlapping rhythms, the glancing contacts, the casual-seeming but carefully choreographed dance played out through the rooms of a shared house. I even learned to accept Finn's silence for what it was and not read it as a reproach. It was a lesson that has proved valuable in later life, this acceptance of another person's silence, for I am more the silence-filler sort of person, hopeless on bird-watching expeditions. Despite the effort required to adapt, I became accustomed to whole days or parts of days during which we barely spoke, just drifted side by side in what for me was a dreamy silence, filled with unspoken words that slipped out of my brain and floated up to dissipate in the cold blue sky.

I began to pick up some of Finn's jobs, shovelling sand into the latrine, fetching water from the open tank at the far end of the huts. Neither of us commented on my expanded role, but I could read expressions on Finn's face that I might not have noticed before, slight shifts of the eyes or movements of the corners of the mouth. Pleasure. Displeasure. Impatience. And very occasionally: interest. Amusement. Sometimes I believed I could chart the passage of thoughts across his face, though the content of those thoughts remained a mystery to me, as if written in another language. For the rest of my break we lived together in a boyish ideal (my boyish ideal) of perfect happiness. I became used to the feel and the taste of my own salty skin. My face turned brown from exposure all day to the April sun, and for once in my life my hair felt thick, textured with salt. There was no mirror in Finn's hut, so I could look at him and imagine myself each day growing taller and slimmer and bolder. It was a lie in ways I already suspected, and ways I hadn't yet imagined. But it made me happy, and even then I knew that happiness was something in which to plunge headlong, and damn the torpedoes. Our time together would have to end, I knew that, and knew also that the pain of leaving this place would be intolerable, like death. In all the years that followed, I have longed, sometimes quite desperately, to ask Finn about those weeks, to ask whether they were happy only for me, whether they remained vivid only in my head. I have wanted to ask whether my presence caused any change for the better. Any change at all. But I couldn't ask. It was once again the supplicant in me, the endlessly repentant me who wanted somehow to know that it had all been worthwhile, that destruction and ruin wasn't all I brought to the little house by the sea.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780399257650
Author:
Rosoff, Meg
Publisher:
Putnam Publishing Group
Author:
Lacour, Nina
Author:
Green, John
Author:
Turner, Henry, Jr.
Subject:
Humorous
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Love & Romance
Subject:
Situations / Friendship
Subject:
Mysteries & Detective Stories
Subject:
Children s-General
Subject:
Meg Rosoff; How I Live Now; Just In Case; What I Was; There Is No Dog; coming of age; coming-of-age; relationships
Subject:
Children s Middle Readers-General
Subject:
Action & Adventure
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20131031
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 7
Language:
English
Illustrations:
b/w map
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Children's » General
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Young Adult » General

Picture Me Gone Sale Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$17.99 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Putnam Publishing Group - English 9780399257650 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Twelve-year-old Mila has remarkable powers of observation, but even more impressive is her insight into people's minds. This may be why her college-professor father takes her with him from London to America to track down his oldest friend, who has suddenly disappeared, leaving his wife and young son behind. The mission, which takes them through upstate New York, is more complicated than Mila expects, with clues not quite adding up and disturbing secrets unveiled, including the realization that her father hasn't been entirely honest. Teeming with complex adult problems — infidelity, marital collapse, the death of a child — this thought-provoking coming-of-age story requires that readers be at least as mature as Mila as she confronts unpleasant truths. Yet Rosoff's (There Is No Dog) writing isn't all gloom and doom. Mila's sharp observations of the people she meets and the winter landscape add a fresh, poetic aura to her discoveries and the novel as a whole. 'The sun is shining, the sky impossible blue,' she thinks. 'The world looks so dazzling, I almost can't bear to look at it.' Ages 12 — up. Agent: Zoe Pagnamenta, Zoe Pagnamenta Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,

A compelling tale of redemption and tour-de-force YA debut, Ask the Dark is an absorbing first-person thriller about Billy Zeets, a 14-year-old semi-delinquent in a deadly tango with a killer.

"Synopsis" by ,

Ask the Dark will keep you up all night, and its flawed, real hero will haunt your day. I wish I’d written it.” —Michael Grant, New York Times best-selling author of Gone and BZRK

Billy Zeets has a story to tell.

About being a vandal and petty thief.

About missing boys and an elusive killer.

And about what happens if a boy who breaks all the rules is the only person who can piece together the truth.

Gripping and powerful, this masterful debut novel comes to vivid life through the unique voice of a hero as unlikely as he is unforgettable.

Ask the Dark is absolutely remarkable. Readers will line up for this one.”—Michael Cart, past president of YALSA and ALAN

"Synopsis" by ,
Printz Award-winning author Meg Rosoff's latest novel is a gorgeous and unforgettable page-turner about the relationship between parents and children, love and loss.

Mila has an exceptional talent for reading a room—sensing hidden facts and unspoken emotions from clues that others overlook. So when her fathers best friend, Matthew, goes missing from his upstate New York home, Mila and her beloved father travel from London to find him. She collects information about Matthew from his belongings, from his wife and baby, from the dog he left behind and from the ghosts of his past—slowly piecing together the story everyone else has missed. But just when shes closest to solving the mystery, a shocking betrayal calls into question her trust in the one person she thought she could read best. 

 

 

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