Thursday, December 30, 2010

Review: "The Year of Fog" by Michelle Richmond

I don't feel that I can truly express to you how much I loved this book. Funnily enough, I don't think that I would ever have picked this one up had it not been for the fact that WalMart made this book one of their book club picks of the month. I had run in there for something else and happened to see a prominent display of this book. I picked it up, read the back, and was hooked. For some reason the title didn't appeal to me, it sounded depressing, and even though this book is not filled with sweetness and light, it was compelling and I'm so glad that I read it.

The Year of Fog tells the story of Abby Mason, a photographer, a fiancee, and a soon-to-be stepmother. Abby is both excited and fearful about becoming a stepmother to 6-year-old Emma. Emma's own mother essentially abandoned her when she was young, and keeps in only sporadic contact. Abby knows that there will be walls that need to be broken down in order for the little girl to trust, and hopefully love, her, but Abby holds out hope that someday they will have a good relationship. Everything changes in an instant. Emma's father goes out of town for the weekend and leaves Abby in charge. The two go for a walk on the beach, Emma wanders ahead in the dense fog, and she disappears without a trace.

The rest of the book focuses on the search for Emma, and the search for answers. Jake, Emma's father and Abby's fiancee, is beside himself with grief and refuses to give up his search for her. Abby, devastated by the fact that her actions have led to so much pain, searches tirelessly for her. Michelle Richmond's decision to tell this story from the point of view of Abby, essentially an outsider, was a wise one. We, as readers, could experience the horror of the loss of a child, but we never get quite close enough that this pain and grief becomes too much to handle.

The Year of Fog was written with a delicate touch, and I'm not surprised that so many readers have devoured this one. I'm only surprised that it took me this long to pick up a copy. The characters were fleshed out and relatable, the plot realistic, and the conclusion fitting. Alternately horrifying, devastating, and complex, Michelle Richmond has written a gem of a book. This one is a must-read for any parent.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Recommended to: Fans of fiction, parents
Challenges: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge, New Author Challenge 2010, RYOB Challenge 2010, Read Remember Recommend Fiction Reading Challenge


  1. This was my fiction "Book of the Year" pick for 2008. I'm glad you've had the chance to discover it, and that you liked it so much, too!

  2. cool. i look forward to reading this someday. :)