Wonder When You’ll Miss Me by Amanda Davis is a richly complex novel with at least three plot arcs. By definition, the arcs are not presented in a linear fashion. The reader is aware that Davis is uncovering all three plots at the same time. Elements of each plot march forth for reader examination at unexpected times. Each plot is complex and invites reader reflection. This means that the novel is not a fast read. As I mulled over each element of a plot and its relation to the entire story, the novel falls short of description as a page-turner. I was happy to read an entertaining story that is also intelligent. All plots deserve a five-star Amazon rating.
Faith Duckle was lured by cups of red punch into a situation that ended in a horrible rape. While all rapes are horrible, there are some acts that have more dark and horrible elements than others. The act described in this novel is dark in its physical description, dark in its subsequent breach of trust and dark in subsequent actions committed in search of revenge or payback. Davis presents all this without vulgar and unneeded sexual language. This plot element is developed over the entire story presentation.
Faith Duckle must deal with her self as a victim. She is traumatized. Never a popular girl, a person with issues about her weight, she has no friends. Faith has a mother with high expectations for Faith but who has no interest in interacting with her unless Faith stumbles on the path to perfection. Faith was always lonely, always a person with no friends. She needed a friend to help her work through the event that happened to her. To have someone to confide in, Faith invented a friend. Faith and her grossly exaggerated obese friend grow together as her friend and advisor guides Faith with helpful suggestions for coping with denial of more than one crime. This schizophrenic Faith might grow and eventually become one “well-adjusted” person. Readers join a cheering section encouraging her success. Faith’s interactions with her “other” provide a lot of the novel’s dark humor.
Finally, there is the depiction of circus life, a mobile life that in this case is always on the road. When not moving, the circus is either tearing down from one appearance or setting up for a new appearance. The Fartlesworth circus seemed to be always on the edge of financial ruin. Faith, now using the name Annabelle has run away from home to find a specific circus. She didn’t intend to join the circus or carnival. She was looking for a friend she had met while working a part-time job in a restaurant. The male friend had disappeared one day, but Faith/Annabelle remembered their conversations and the name of the circus with which he formerly traveled. When she found the circus, she discovered the friend had been fired and abandoned by the circus when he committed crimes that landed him in jail. On the road and on the run, Faith/Annabelle needed to hide and needed to find a way to earn her keep. Elaine Hachette owned and ran the circus. Because a very unusual action on the part of an employee resulted in a vacancy, Elaine offered Annabelle a job. She would work for food only, no money, but Annabelle was given a place to stay as the show traveled. This part can be considered as a “main” plot. Annabelle will grow as she seeks acceptance, friends, and redemption.
The desire to run away from home and join a traveling show is a popular dream for many of us, at all ages, and not just to escape responsibility for criminal acts. The Fartlesworth circus had performers and animal acts. There was a midway with games and prizes. The descriptions of the interactions between performers and hustlers offer high drama as they fall in and out of love or develop complex relationships. Annabelle is an observer, she is not an accepted participant. But she wants to be. Everything takes place over an extended period, almost a year as the traveling circus completes a circuit that will take Annabelle back to her home of Gleryton where she might be expected to perform as a part of an aerialist team. Will she be recognized and arrested? Will Faith’s mom welcome her home? (Note the title of the novel).
This novel is listed on Amazon for USD 6.99. I purchased it on Amazon on 05 February for USD 1.99. It is not currently available on Kindle Unlimited. It is listed on Amazon by genre as a Coming of Age novel and that is logical as we read the story of sixteen-year-old Faith Duckle. I read the Amazon page description of the novel’s content after reading the novel. It is an excellent description by itself. I was surprised to read the following, “At fifteen, Faith was lured under the bleachers by a bunch of boys at a football game and raped.” (Amazon page dedicated to promotion and reviews for Wonder When You’ll Miss Me). That statement and others almost appear to be spoilers. They are not spoilers due to the excellent subtle and layered presentation of author Amanda Davis.
Although I will read more by this author, I was shocked and saddened to learn of events in the life of Amanda Davis, events that are revealed at the end of the story. While not related to the story, and thus not a spoiler, I will leave those events to be discovered by the reader.