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Until I Find You


Until I Find You

UNTIL I FIND YOU by Rea Frey is a story filled with darkness and loss. Rebecca Gray has a degenerative disease that causes her to see only shadows, and she knows it will get worse. To make matters even darker, Rebecca is a widow. Her husband died when she was newly pregnant, followed shortly thereafter by her mother. Her grief over losing them, her sight and the life she envisioned is quite overwhelming.

It’s fascinating to learn how Rebecca manages life with a baby. She diapers Jackson, changes and bathes him, feeds him, and takes him for walks in Elmhurst, the suburb of Chicago where she grew up. She lives in her childhood home and functions there perfectly. She also can navigate her way to the nearby park and to friends’ houses. Her strength and her determination not to let her blindness hamper her become a stumbling block when she ventures out on her own. At times, we want to shake her and tell her that it’s permissible to ask for assistance --- that people who are sighted rely on others, and she certainly can as well.

"Frey has written a story that will chill readers but will make us think about living with a visual or hearing impairment. How do we remake our lives if we lose our sight?"

The novel is told from alternating perspectives: that of Rebecca (nicknamed “Bec”), told in the first person, and Crystal, one of Bec’s new friends, narrated in the third person. Crystal and Bec met at a grief group, became close and live within a few blocks of each other. Both are unhappy widows who have a child and suffer severely. Bec is the center of the story, and her grief is compounded by all of her other losses. Her life seems quite dark at the start of the book. She thinks she is being watched; her front door is unlocked, even though she is sure she locked it; and she finds Jackson's playpen in a different room. We believe her but also wonder if she is a completely reliable narrator. Is her emotional state causing her to imagine things?

The one bright spot is that an old boyfriend, Jake, who she believes is the love of her life, is back from out of state. He knows she is widowed, and when they meet, she realizes that she is still in love with him. But when her baby disappears and is replaced with another infant, will he believe her? He’s a detective, so he could be the perfect person to help her find out what happened to Jackson.

The story takes off at this point, and while we don’t know quite what to believe, we are aware that Crystal’s life is far from perfect. Her narrative is vague, and there are omissions. Her 10-year-old daughter, Savi, is a talented cello player, and Bec, who was a symphony cellist, gives her lessons. But Savi is unhappy because she knows her mother is unhappy. While the girl has fun with the nanny, a young woman named Pam, we get the feeling that Pam isn’t who she appears to be and that she’s hiding something.

The mystery of where Jackson is, how Bec will figure it out, and who her friends really are intensifies as the hours and days pass. There are many clues and red herrings, and while we know that Crystal’s story is also important, we aren’t privy to her role in the novel.

While the beginning of UNTIL I FIND YOU is a bit slow, the action and emotions really pick up once the baby is gone; in fact, I stayed up late to finish the book and find out how it all ended. Frey's story will chill readers but will make us think about living with a visual or hearing impairment. How do we remake our lives if we lose our sight? And the fact that Bec has lost every single person in her family is perhaps the worst loss.

It’s not all dark, though. Frey provides a very satisfactory ending with a hopeful tone for Bec’s future. Light at the end is welcome, indeed.

Reviewed by Pamela Kramer on August 28, 2020

Until I Find You
by Rea Frey

  • Publication Date: August 11, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • ISBN-10: 1250241588
  • ISBN-13: 9781250241580