Title: Carry Me Home
Author: Janet Fox
Genre: Realistic Middle Grade Fiction
Number of Pages: 208
Carry Me Home is a sweet, simple story about two little girls who live in a car with their father. When he suddenly disappears, the older daughter (Lulu) tries to hide his absence from other people and becomes the reluctant caretaker of her sister Serena. As the temperature begins to drop, Lulu becomes increasingly desperate and the grown-ups in their lives start to get suspicious.
Okay, this is the second book I’ve read in a row with kids forced into adult roles. Carry Me Home reminded me a little bit of the Japanese film Nobody Knows, which had a big impact on me when I watched it as a young teen. It’s not as tragic but the general set-up is similar- siblings left without their parental figure who are afraid of getting separated if they report the situation to the authorities. Carry Me Home is written in third-person in a simple and clean style that evokes the youth and innocence of the main characters.
Lulu’s attempts to take care of her sister by herself is admirable but it’s also frustrating because hiding the truth from adults is obviously a bad idea and leads to a horrible situation that’s as grueling as it is preventable. This book is a little light on character development- the characters are simply written and even though I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing it did remove me emotionally from the story somewhat.
The ending is also way too clean-cut and things come together for the characters in an implausibly quick and easy manner. It’s a good story but it probably would have felt more believable if the author hadn’t slapped it with a unambiguous cookie-cutter happy ending.