One day on the beach in San Francisco, a six-year-old child disappears. Her watcher, the father's fiance and our narrator, looks away from Emma for a moment, and the girl simply vanishes.
Abby spends every moment of the next months trying to remember, trying to find a clue, and trying to find Emma. When hope is lost, Abby soldiers on. When Jake gives up and holds a funeral, Abby attends but then continues looking. But in constantly searching for Emma is Abby losing herself?
This book is agonizing at times - Abby really does lose it for a while. Her continual looping of the city, the count of days missing, the fliers and the questions all wear you down as a reader until it's easy to see the claustrophobic emotions of losing a child.
I listened to the audiobook version read by Carrington MacDuffie, and I sometimes found it hard to listen to - it's a heartbreaking scenario. But I also understand that dragging you through Abby's hell (and every parent's nightmare) makes the emotional journey more real to us as readers.
In the end, I enjoyed the book, which was recommended to me by members of our book discussion. They each raved about the writing and the story. And you do certainly learn a bit about memory, photography, and surfing through Abby's quest!