Lost and Found
It started with a letter…
Carol is married to a man she doesn’t love and mother to a daughter she doesn’t understand. Crippled with guilt, she can’t shake the feeling that she has wasted her life. So she puts pen to paper and writes a Letter to the Universe. Albert is a widowed postman, approaching retirement age, and living with his cat, Gloria, for company. Slowly being pushed out at his place of work, he is forced down to the section of the post office where they sort undeliverable mail. When a series of letters turns up with a smiley face drawn in place of an address, he cannot help reading them.
As an avid letter-writer, I must admit that the premise of this book had me intrigued from the start. What happens to those letters which never make it? What if they’re never sent to anyone in particular? Albert, who is being pushed towards his retirement by his Post Office colleagues, becomes responsible for any of the mail which hasn’t been delivered. While trying to fill his time, he discovers some letters which he feels must be meant for him to find.
I found Albert’s story tugged at my heartstrings a little. Other than his horrid bully of a neighbour and his work colleagues (who clearly can’t wait for him to retire), he has just his cat to keep him company. The plot rather plods along, keeping pace with his life as he wonders what he is going to do with all of his spare time once retirement is thrust upon him. I’d imagine most readers would feel rather sorry for Albert, who as the story unfolds, it can be seen, really misses his late wife. I really felt worried for him when he was out searching for the flag pole.
I can’t say I had quite as much sympathy for Carol, our mysterious letter writer. She seems to be stuck in a stale marriage, finding it difficult to decide on the right time to leave. She seems to find it hard to communicate with her teenage daughter and also seems to be using a past love as the driving force behind her decision to leave. I didn’t particularly take to her friends or agree with the advice they were giving her. However, this didn’t mean that my sympathy landed with Bob, as I didn’t really warm to him either, understanding why their daughter wanted to spend her time away from them.
Unlike so many books I’ve read lately, I found Lost and Found slow-paced in a sort of comforting way. I liked the fact that there was a bit of wry humour to it as well, particularly where Albert’s cat was concerned. Despite the slow pace, I didn’t know where the book was going until it ended, which is always nice and refreshing. An easy read for a weekend afternoon.