I usually read these two books in reverse order, Wonder When You’ll Miss Me followed by Water for Elephants. I think this is the first time I’ve read them the opposite way, and a couple elements did make themselves known that I hadn’t noticed before. But I’ll get to that later, maybe.
Wonder When You’ll Miss Me by Amanda Davis is another book I found through my highschool summer reading. For Contemporary Fiction we had a choice between this and a book that took place at another highschool in the area. I picked this one because I felt it would be the less popular choice, not that it actually mattered. I still haven’t read the other, but I have no regrets, because this one is strong on its own.
I mentioned it last post, Wonder When You’ll Miss Me is my other circus book. Our main character is Faith Duckle, a sixteen year-old highschool student who runs away and joins the circus under the assumed name of Annabelle Cabinet. This isn’t some dream of making it big though, but a grittily realistic look on life. Faith was in a mental institution after her suicide attempt and had trouble fitting in at school. And being in the circus isn’t all that glamorous – she shovels elephant shit much of the time.
Still, the book is about Faith remaking her life as Annabelle and finding the strength within to do so. It’s also about the details and looking beyond the surface. We find out early on that one of the characters is gay, but there’s no stigma against it, simply a fact of who he is. There’s kind people on the highway and creeps as well, but the most danger our main character finds herself in is from herself. I find Faith/Annabelle to be a very believable character, as well as likable. I want her to succeed, to find her place in the world where she can be happy.
Sadly, Wonder When You’ll Miss Me is the only novel written by Amanda Davis, coming out not too long before she died in a plane crash. There is a collection of her short stories available titled Circling the Drain, but nothing else full-length. It’s a tragedy because not only was she planning more books, but because Wonder When You’ll Miss Me is so well-written and enjoyable. Well, I have a hard time reading some parts, but that’s because I find those actions distasteful personally. They’re logical choices for the characters and fit the story, regardless of whether or not I would do such things.
I’m thinking back on whether or not Water for Elephants was a better follow-up to Lillian Boxfish or if I’d’ve done better to read Wonder When You’ll Miss Me then. There’s a lot of parallels between them all, not the least of which is that all three are written in first person. Most of the books I read are in third, so it is worth mentioning as far as I’m concerned.
It may be a bit late at night to really dissect Wonder When You’ll Miss Me and I’m yawning as I type. I intend to go on to something new tomorrow, and try to reduce the Pile a bit. We’ll see how that goes in the morning.