Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Year of Fog (copy)

It was cold and foggy the morning we decided to walk Ocean Beach. There had been a couple of intense storms that week and we were hoping to find whole sand dollars.

Emma was her cheerful self and a constant tug as she continued to leave my hand for the interesting shells. I asked her to behave but I really couldn’t blame her for being excited. At six years of age everything is exciting and Emma’s excitement was contagious.

I had brought my Holga, an inexpensive little plastic camera I use when feeling artsy, and that morning was perfect. Well, except for the constant struggle with Emma. I found it hard to juggle her little hand and focus the camera at the same time.

This is when I made the mistake of a lifetime. In the excitement, I allowed Emma a privilege I had no right to offer.

See, Emma’s not my child. She is the sole property of my fiancĂ©, Jake. The man I was to marry in three months, but now, I’m not sure.

These are the facts as I remember them. Emma begged me to let her go and I let her go. She ran up ahead and I took her photo as she skipped away. I told her to come back, she was getting too immersed in the fog and I couldn’t see her. I looked down and there was a dead seal at my feet.

Had Emma seen the seal? Did it scare her, making her run in the opposite direction to find me? I mean, I only looked down for a few seconds, just enough time to get some shots. How far could she go on her little legs in this fog?

The Year of Fog is Alabama native Michelle Richmond's second book. According to her web page the book “was selected by Kirkus Reviews as one of the best books of 2007 for reading groups, and has been optioned by Newmarket Films.”

One will fall in love with author Richmond’s style as she describes a year in Abby Mason’s suspended life. Readers experience a jumble of guilt, shame and confusion as the days drag into weeks which draw into months, and still Emma’s whereabouts remain shrouded in the fog.

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