We Now Return To Regular Life
Author: Martin Wilson
Publisher: Dial Books
Genre/Themes: YA, Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery
Release Date: August 1st 2017
Page Count: 384
Format: Hard Cover/Audiobook
Initial Post Reading Thoughts
I had heard about We Now Return To Regular Life earlier this year and I instantly knew that it would be a book that I would enjoy based on its synopsis alone. Contemporary novels with darker and more serious elements are probably my favourite genre to read and this book fell right into that category. We Now Return To Regular Life explores what it’s like for Sam, a kid who was kidnapped three years ago, to return home after being found and having to adjust going back to his normal, regular life from before he disappeared. I’m glad I decided to pick this one up as it was right up my alley!
Sam Walsh had been missing for three years. His older sister, Beth, thought he was dead. His childhood friend Josh thought it was all his fault. They were the last two people to see him alive. Until now. Because Sam has been found, and he’s coming home. Beth desperately wants to understand what happened to her brother, but her family refuses to talk about it—even though Sam is clearly still affected by the abuse he faced at the hands of his captor. And as Sam starts to confide in Josh about his past, Josh can’t admit the truths he’s hidden deep within himself: that he’s gay, and developing feelings for Sam. And, even bigger: that he never told the police everything he saw the day Sam disappeared. As Beth and Josh struggle with their own issues, their friends and neighbors slowly turn on Sam, until one night when everything explodes. Beth can’t live in silence. Josh can’t live with his secrets. And Sam can’t continue on until the whole truth of what happened to him is out in the open.
What I Liked
The darker & more serious elements. It’s no secret that my favourite books seem to consist of darker elements and storylines. Especially in a contemporary setting. We Now Return To Regular Life deals with a lot of heavier topics, the main focus being on Sam’s kidnapping. The story doesn’t go into too much detail about what happened to Sam while he was gone for 3 years, but what it does mention is hard to think about. On top of that, we have other characters that are trying to figure out their own problems as they try to discover themselves. We Now Return To Regular Life is definitely a darker contemporary novel with a dash of mystery/suspense.
The perspectives. One thing I found super interesting was the way that this story was told from the alternating perspectives of Sam’s sister, Beth, and the person who last saw him before he disappeared, his friend Josh. I thought that this was a really interesting take on how to tell this kind of story. We learned about what happened to Sam through the eyes of the people who were closest to him before his disappearance while we also learn what it was like for them while Sam was gone. At first, I really didn’t think that this would work, but it ended up being something that stood out as a positive in this story for me personally.
The characters. As mentioned above, We Now Return To Regular Life is a story about Sam told by his sister Beth and his friend Josh. These three characters alone were great. We have damaged Sam who is trying to adjust to his old life, Beth who truly believed that her brother was dead and is now trying to understand what happened to him while he was missing and Josh who is dealing with his own guilt as the last person to have seen Sam before he disappeared. We also see Josh struggle with trying to understand himself which feels like a secondary coming of age storyline. All of these characters were interesting and I continuously wanted to learn more about each of them.
The slow unraveling. Slowly, after almost each chapter came to a close, we learned something new…a new piece of the puzzle as to what happened to Sam. I love books that don’t give me everything all at once and I also love books that don’t take forever to get to the point. We Now Return To Regular Life had a great balance and delivered what I needed at exactly the right moment.
What I Didn’t Like
Wanted to know more. There were a few things that I wish were focused on a bit more. Because this story was not told from the perspective of Sam, we didn’t really get to see a lot of what it was like to live with his captor for three years. We learned a bit from what he told Josh, but just slightly not enough to satisfy me. I wanted to learn more about his captor and why he did what he did.
Overall, I really enjoyed We Now Return To Regular Life. This book is almost 400 pages and I read through it at a super quick pace. It kept me wanting more after each and every chapter!
About The Author
Martin Wilson was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He lived there until he finished high school and entered Vanderbilt University, where he earned a BA in 1995, majoring in English. After graduation, he moved to Austin, Texas, where he worked as an editorial assistant at an educational publishing house. In 1996, he moved to Gainesville, Florida, joining the MFA program of the University of Florida. While at Florida, one of his short stories won a Henfield Foundation/Transatlantic Review Award. After earning his MFA in 1998, he moved back to Austin and, once again, began working for the same educational publishing house as a copyeditor and, eventually, as a managing editor. In 2003, Martin moved to New York City, where he still lives and works as a publicist in the book publishing industry. His short stories, essays, and book reviews have been published in One Teen Story, Tin House, Virgin Fiction 2, Pieces: A Collection of New Voices, Rush Hour, Publishers Weekly, Austin Chronicle, and other publications. His debut novel, What They Always Tell Us (Delacorte Press/Random House Books for Young Readers, 2008), won the Alabama Author Award for best young adult book. The novel was also a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, an Indie Next Selection, an ALA-ALSC Rainbow List Selection, and a CCBC Choices Book. His newest novel is We Now Return to Regular Life (Dial Books, 2017).
Thank you for reading!