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My Abandonment

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  3,700 Ratings  ·  712 Reviews
A thirteen-year-old girl and her father live in Forest Park, an enormous nature preserve in Portland, Oregon. They inhabit an elaborate cave shelter, wash in a nearby creek, store perishables at the water’s edge, use a makeshift septic system, tend a garden, even keep a library of sorts. Once a week they go to the city to buy groceries and otherwise merge with the civilize ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 26th 2018 by Mariner Books (first published March 1st 2009)
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Jonathan Ashleigh
I like this book in a similar way to how I enjoyed Room, they are both innocent perspectives. Coincidentally, I didn’t realize My Abandonment was based on actual events or that it was meant to be YA (it was recommended to me by a goodreads page that is definitely adult). I figured out it was actual events pretty fast because it states that some things actually did happen at the beginning of the book. The story is of a man and his daughter who were discovered living in a park and as I read I coul ...more
Apr 16, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have mixed feelings about this book. It was a fast, thought-provoking read; but it left me with many unanswered questions, particulary since it was based on a true case. The beginning of the book seemed to include many facts that had been published in news articles, but the ending was Peter Rock's fictional version. I found some of this not to fit the characters. The reference to Elizabeth Smart in the Acknowledgments was disturbing to me.
Mar 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, fiction
As a Portland resident, it was fun to hear descriptions of the city and Forest Park. I enjoyed the writing style from 13-year-old Caroline's perspective.

After reading some news stories about the true story behind this novel, it's even more intriguing to me!
Even though I have alredy sent this, I am updating for my Best of 2009 list, and this review goes along with Jennie Shortridge's WHEN SHE FLEW:

Both of these are based on the true story of the father and pre-teen daughter who lived off the grid in Portland’s Forest Park for four years but each author treats the story a little differently. Rock’s story is told in an almost surreal and disassociated manner and Shortridge delivers more of an emotional punch. Both are interesting and would be great f
Jul 24, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Let me start with the following: I am so freaking confused by this book.

When I read the back of the book, I knew it was about a father and his 13 year old kid and they're trucking around all of Portland and living in the woods and all that. That much is true. And before I attempted to really get into the book I did some research on here and found that mostly it was well liked, and the ones that weren't well liked, well, didn't give enough reason for me to be completely turned off.

My issues aren'
A compelling and thought-provoking book. I live in Portland so I was familiar with the setting in Forest Park & the city. I was also familiar with the true story behind this novel. A father & daughter spent four years living in Forest Park in a shelter the father built. He home-schooled the daughter using his own knowledge & a set of encyclopedias. The father was a veteran & had a small military pension, so they were able to go into the city & buy groceries, clothing as neede ...more
Mar 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
4.5 stars
Lots to love in this novel, starting with the cover. That ghost-like white horse is Randy, 13-year-old Caroline’s little plastic companion and familiar daily presence. If she were a suburban kid living a mainstream life, she would have probably had a cell phone to fondle by now, but she lives in a hidden camp in the woods with her father and Randy accompanies her as she tells the story of her marginal existence.

Written entirely from Caroline’s perspective, the sentence structure is at
Mar 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I had forgotten that My Abandonment was largely based on a true story. (The author's website has .pdf copies of the articles he was drawing from.) Somebody from Oregon, and maybe the Pacific Northwest in general, might remember when this was in the news, but I wasn't familiar with it. The second half of the book is Rock's imagined version of what might have happened to Frank and Ruthie (in this book, the girl is called Caroline, and her father goes by several names) after they vanished.

Feb 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting and absorbing book and made for a quick read. I was somewhat familiar with one of the real life stories this book is based on, that of the girl and her father living in Forest Park. After reading My Abandonment, I was left with more questions than answers -- there is no obvious line of distinction between reality and fiction here, and in some ways this seems a shame as the real life story is what brought me to this book. I got the impression reading this that it started o ...more
Jan 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Based on a true story, this book tells the tale of a young girl and her father who live in the woods on the fringes of society outside of Portland, Oregon. The girl is heartbreakingly sweet and naive and the father appears to have raised her with loving kindness. They want nothing more than to be left alone by the world, but you know that's not going to happen. You may think you know where this story is going, but you have no idea. It combines the best aspects of crime story with psychological d ...more
Mar 16, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was not just boring, it felt like a waste of time.

I can forgive a book for being boring, it happens. But I find it harder to shake the feeling that I actually wasted my time reading a book. And that's the case here. I'm actually shocked by the fact that this was turned into a movie. It's so dull! Or maybe I'm incapable of understanding the deeper message of this (I don't think it has any, mind you).

This had so much potential that was just wasted. So many different choices could have been ma
Jan 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once in a while, I'll read something so compelling, so fascinating, that I find myself consumed by the characters, wanting to know more than what is revealed by the author. I notice that I'm actively reading, rather than passively letting the words slip in and out of my consciousness. My eyebrows are raised, I'm leaning in as if to hear a little better, and even once in a while whispering out loud, as if the characters could hear my sympathetic murmers as they struggle against whatever obstacles ...more
Tara Lynn
Oct 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I read the blurb for this book, I couldn't wait to read it. Totally my kind of story, mixing human relationships against the backdrop of nature. And it didn't disappoint; in fact, it exceeded expectations. I didn't expect it to be so well written. Why? I admit I'd never heard of writer Peter Rock before. But based on this book, I hope he has some awards waiting for him down the road. He's another one of those writers who flies under the radar because they don't get the big promo deals. But ...more
Heidi Potenza
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I dove right into this book and finished it in a few hours. I didn't read any reviews beforehand as I wanted to keep an open mind. What a fascinating story about a girl and her "father" living in the wilderness. Now that I see it was based on a true story, the book is even more compelling. I was amazed that a man wrote this book from the perspective of a young girl, as the writing was so personal and deeply intimate. It left me with quite a few "what if's" and unanswered questions, but I am glad ...more
Claire Fuller
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
For the first few pages I wasn't too sure about My Abandonment. Caroline, the narrator is thirteen when we first meet her, living in a hide-out in a nature reserve with her father, but she has the voice of a much younger child: she carries around with her an anatomical model of a horse, a blue ribbon, and reads damp encyclopedias. But as I learned more about Caroline's past the voice became exactly right for the sort of person she is. One day in the woods she makes a mistake and a jogger sees he ...more
Despite its rather unappealing title, the book offers an original and interesting insight into homelessness and mental illness, inspired (in part) by a true story. Narrated in the voice of 13-year old Caroline, the story follows the unconventional life of a man and his young daughter in a cave in Forest Park just outside Portland, Oregon. A Vietnam veteran still in the grips of PTSD, Caroline’s father is constantly on the run from authorities, which is partly due to his paranoia and to a secret ...more
Jun 09, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: oregon-pnw, fiction
inspired by the true story of a man and his 12-year-old daughter found living together in portland, oregon's 5,100 acre forest park (after nearly four years), my abandonment is an interesting, however imperfect, work of fiction. while much of the book's first half is faithful to the actual events, the remainder is a work of imagination. the case's nearly unbelievable details certainly make great fodder for a compelling story, and author peter rock deftly tells the tale.

the novel is written from
Feb 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
This book is a really solid read while you're in the process of reading it. Strong voice, beautiful writing, compelling storyline. Once you surface and start to survey it as a whole, though, it starts to fall apart.

**Spoilers on minor plot points follow**

Rock was basing his novel on real life events. For the first hundred pages or so, he follows the story almost exactly as he first encountered it in the news: a thirteen-year-old girl and her father have lived off the grid in Portland's Forest Pa
Deborah Stack
I found this book to be intriguing- the story was fascinating, and upon discovering that it was based in truth, I found myself scrounging up every article I could find which detailed the story of the 'forest family.' The first half or so of the book pulled me in entirely, and I really enjoyed it. It was only after the author began to speculate about what might have happened to the family after their ultimate disappearance that I found myself struggling with the way he handled the story. I simply ...more
Feb 12, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
*spoiler alert*
I found this retelling of an actual event where a girl was found living with her dad in Forest Park in Portland really compelling until the last 50 pages or so, when the main character, a young girl who was explained with such compassion throughout the first 3/4 of the books, starts acting completely out of character. Throughout the book, we're reminded that she's a self-sufficient, highly intelligent 13 year old. Then there's a scene where she runs into a fellow homeless peer, wh
Oswego Public Library District
This is an adult book of psychological fiction for young adults. The story sheds light on the lifestyles of the homeless. A father kidnapped his daughter out of foster care; they have lived for four years now in the forest, close to civilization and camps of homeless people, yet out of sight. In spite of the rugged setting, Caroline gets a decent education from her father and this section of the story is enchanting and appealing. Once they are discovered, separated, and then reunited by state ag ...more
Jun 03, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm ultimately undecided about this book. I picked it up because I remembered the true story the first part of the book is drawn from, and because it was "recommended" at Powell's and I was looking for a few impulse buys. The story is engaging, though the writing is far from masterful. As the story moves beyond its basis in what is known about the family who lived in Forest Park, after their actual disappearance (not that the early part of the story seems like anything but fiction-inspired-by... ...more
Hope Baugh
May 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, what a book. I mean seriously, wow. I can not remember the last time a book so thoroughly grabbed and disturbed me that I literally could not get to sleep after finishing it. (And I _HAD_ to finish it, even if I had not had to finish it for my job!)

This suspenseful contemporary novel about a homeless teen and her father living and hiding in a nature preserve in Oregon was published for adults. I think the topic will interest many of the people that liked the YA novels LIVING DEAD GIRL, by E
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book I chose to read is called My Abandonment. It is based on a true story, and it’s about a thirteen year old girl and her father who live in a huge forest preserve in Portland, Oregon. When I first picked up this book, I wasn’t that interested, but as soon as I started reading it I was intrigued. I am about halfway through the book, and so far they were found by the police and had to leave their “home” in the forest. Social workers and psychologists realized they were both incredibly intel ...more
Mesmerizing!!! I started this book in the morning and finished it that same night. I had to put it down in between because of necessity/obligations. This book reminded me of what it was like to be a child again, while it also introduced me to the world of homelessness. Caroline with her little horse, Randy, reminded me of my own daughters with "My Pretty Pony". The people of the forest, Nameless, The Skeletons, the paper people, Lala.... The ending of this book totally knocked me down. I had dif ...more
Milena Severa
This book had an interesting story, and the fact that it was a true story made it more intriguing. I thought the author could have done a better job of developing characters. And I felt there were some details given at the begining of the story that were still unresolved by the end of the book. The few errors I found in grammer and puncuation were distacting and made the book not seem as serious as I felt it should have been. Overall the story kept me interested and it was mostly enjoyable to re ...more
Sep 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bianca Dalton
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely loved it, but so many unanswered questions. I’m sitting here trying to figure out so many things now that I’m done reading it.
Dominic Hamer
Two stars. It was okay.

The beginning, I really didn't like. I didn't like it because, for me, it was rather boring. The main character felt attenuated and unconscious. The controlling/strict father offered no pattern or rhythm, and the text felt like it was largely made up as it went along, drifting from here to there. The characters were unimpacted by the events they caused and suffered, as if everyone was either stoned or on lithium.

A missed opportunity, I think, and the dialogue sounded quite
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A Utah-native, Peter Rock attended Deep Springs College in California's High Desert. He earned his BA in English from Yale University and held a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University.He has taught fiction at the University of Pennsylvania, Yale, Deep Springs College, and in the MFA program at San Francisco State University. His stories and freelance writing have both appeared widely. H ...more
More about Peter Rock
“It is important to always remember that at any time you think of it there are people being kept in buildings when they want to go outside.” 10 likes
“Every problem I have comes from believing something to be true that is not true.” 1 likes
More quotes…