This is a mesmerising book. The cliché unputdownable is very apt here, but it is no cliché. I could not put his book down until I’d finished it. It intoxicates the reader as it delves into the trauma that is Bi-Polar Disorder. The condition is wrought clear to the reader as the Lost Girl of the title, Rebecca, suffers and self-harms her way through the story whilst high on recreational drugs and drink or low on her prescription drugs. Her case is extreme yes, but so relatable. Suffering under an abusive father and an alcoholic mother when her sister was taken away from her home, she has faced crisis after personal crisis, from childhood through to the current time.
She is able to hide the reality of the crisis that her life is from everyone, even her caring sister. Her whole life is a lie and we recognise this as the writing is so clever.
Her life now is tinged with violence and aggression. She metes it out but also welcomes it and she falls under the spell of an unsuitable married man where sex seems like everything, though she wants more. She follows him to Tokyo and her life spirals out of control as he rejects her, and she pursues a course with terrifying consequences.
Told in first person we really do feel her pain and live through the descriptions of the disaster that is her personal life.
My only problem is the ending, too abrupt and with too many things unresolved, though in a way that is also perfect as we can decide what happens to Rebecca after her final act of defiance.
Jon Wilkins is 65. He has a gorgeous wife Annie and two beautiful sons. He is a retired teacher, lapsed Waterstones’ bookseller and former Basketball Coach. He taught PE and English for 20 years and coached girls & women’s basketball for over 30 years. He regularly teaches at Creative Writing workshops in and around Leicester. He takes notes for students with special needs at Leicester University. For his Creative Writing MA, he wrote a crime novel, Utrecht Snow. He is also writing a crime series set in the Great War and the early Twenties. The first part, Poppy Flowers at the Front was published by Brigand Press, London in March 2020. You can read a review of it here.