We Now Return to Regular Life by Martin Wilson

We Now Return to Regular Life

A ripped-from-the-headlines novel that explores the power of being an ally—and a friend—when a kidnapped boy returns to his hometown.Sam Walsh had been missing for three years. His older sister, Beth, thought he was dead. His childhood friend Josh thought it was all his fault. They were the last two people to see him alive.Until now. Because Sam has been found, and he’s co...

Title:We Now Return to Regular Life
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0735227829
Number of Pages:384 pages

We Now Return to Regular Life Reviews

  • Maria (Big City Bookworm)

    I had heard about We Now Return To Regular Life earlier this year and I instantly knew that it would be a book that I enjoyed based on its synopsis alone. Contemporary novels with darker and more serious elements are probably my favourite genre to read and this book fell right into that category. We Now Return To Regular Life explores what it's like for Sam, a kid who was kidnapped three years ago to return home after being found and having to adjust going back to h

    I had heard about We Now Return To Regular Life earlier this year and I instantly knew that it would be a book that I enjoyed based on its synopsis alone. Contemporary novels with darker and more serious elements are probably my favourite genre to read and this book fell right into that category. We Now Return To Regular Life explores what it's like for Sam, a kid who was kidnapped three years ago to return home after being found and having to adjust going back to his normal, regular life from before he disappeared. I'm glad I decided to pick this one up as it was right up my alley!

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    It’s no secret that my favourite books seem to consist of darker elements and storylines. Especially in a contemporary setting. We Now Return To Regular Life deals with a lot of heavier topics, the main focus being on Sam’s kidnapping. The story doesn’t go into too much detail about what happened to Sam while he was gone for 3 years, but what it does mention is hard to think about. On top of that, we have other characters that are trying to figure out their own problems as they try to discover themselves. We Now Return To Regular Life is definitely a darker contemporary novel with a dash of mystery/suspense.

    One thing I found super interesting was the way that this story was told from the alternating perspectives of Sam’s sister, Beth, and the person who last saw him before he disappeared, his friend Josh. I thought that this was a really interesting take on how to tell this kind of story. We learned about what happened to Sam through the eyes of the people who were closest to him before his disappearance while we also learn what it was like for them while Sam was gone. At first, I really didn’t think that this would work, but it ended up being something that stood out as a positive in this story for me personally.

    As mentioned above, We Now Return To Regular Life is a story about Sam told by his sister Beth and his friend Josh. These three characters alone were great. We have damaged Sam who is trying to adjust to his old life, Beth who truly believed that her brother was dead and is now trying to understand what happened to him while he was missing and Josh who is dealing with his own guilt as the last person to have seen Sam before he disappeared. We also see Josh struggle with trying to understand himself which feels like a secondary coming of age storyline. All of these characters were interesting and I continuously wanted to learn more about each of them.

    Slowly, after almost each chapter came to a close, we learned something new…a new piece of the puzzle as to what happened to Sam. I love books that don’t give me everything all at once and I also love books that don’t take forever to get to the point. We Now Return To Regular Life had a great balance and delivered what I needed at exactly the right moment.

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    There were a few things that I wish were focused on a bit more. Because this story was not told from the perspective of Sam, we didn’t really get to see a lot of what it was like to live with his captor for three years. We learned a bit from what he told Josh, but just slightly not enough to satisfy me. I wanted to learn more about his captor and why he did what he did.

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    Overall, I really enjoyed We Now Return To Regular Life. This book is almost 400 pages and I read through it at a super quick pace. It kept me wanting more after each and every chapter!

  • Thomas

    The first book to make me cry in a long time,

    reaffirms Martin Wilson's status as one of the most skilled young-adult writers of our time. The novel begins with the return of Sam Walsh, a now fourteen-year-old boy who had been kidnapped for three years. Throughout the book we follow the narratives of two central characters in Sam's life: Beth, Sam's older sister who lived in the ghost of a household ever since Sam got stolen, and Josh, Sam's friend and the last pers

    The first book to make me cry in a long time,

    reaffirms Martin Wilson's status as one of the most skilled young-adult writers of our time. The novel begins with the return of Sam Walsh, a now fourteen-year-old boy who had been kidnapped for three years. Throughout the book we follow the narratives of two central characters in Sam's life: Beth, Sam's older sister who lived in the ghost of a household ever since Sam got stolen, and Josh, Sam's friend and the last person to have seen Sam before his kidnapper took him. Though many people assume that Sam's return evokes pure joy and elation, it also forces Beth and Josh to confront other feelings too, namely their guilt, sadness, and the boy they both had missed and has now come back in a form they never thought to expect.

    I felt so compelled and connected to this book because of the masterful way Wilson writers his characters' emotions. With a novel about a boy who had been kidnapped, one might expect cheap drama that sensationalizes child abduction, or a story filled with gruesome details just to elicit shock and surprise. Instead, Wilson creates quiet, subtle, yet moving and heartrending scenes that convey deep and raw emotions. As I read, I literally felt the searing force of Beth's repressed anger at her parents' inadequacy and Josh's internalized self-punishment over his perceived failure at protecting Sam. These characters stunned me because Wilson just writes so well. Similar to Adam Haslett, he crafts gorgeous, tension-filled scenes and sections of dialogue that suck you in and flood you with his characters' depth and their flawed, beautiful hearts.

    Overall, one of the best character-driven works of fiction I have read in a long time. In some ways I wanted more after the ending, and I realize that wish comes from how these characters feel like real people to me; I feel like I could read about their lives forever, really.

    addresses what it means to be an ally and a friend, as well as how to cope with the costs of loving someone who has gone through a lot. I also appreciate Wilson's sensitive portrayal of trauma and Stockholm Syndrome - one scene toward the end of the book literally made me burst into tears because of its sheer vulnerability and compassionate portrayal of self-hatred. Wilson's

    was the first gay book I ever read, so he will always have a special place in my heart. I am thankful that his second book showcases him at his finest again, with a delicate and gripping story about adolescence, rediscovering others, and finding yourself through learning how to help those around you.

  • Chelsea Humphrey

    Have you ever read a book and acknowledged that, yeah, it wasn't a perfect read, but it was the perfect read for you? That was case and point 

     for me. While this story is mainly narrated from the POVs of Beth, Sam's older sister, and Josh, his next door neighbor and friend, I could sense other unspoken views being told between the lines that felt as prominent as the ones put into written word. This form of storytelling can only be mastered by a select few and it was

    Have you ever read a book and acknowledged that, yeah, it wasn't a perfect read, but it was the perfect read for you? That was case and point 

     for me. While this story is mainly narrated from the POVs of Beth, Sam's older sister, and Josh, his next door neighbor and friend, I could sense other unspoken views being told between the lines that felt as prominent as the ones put into written word. This form of storytelling can only be mastered by a select few and it was pulled off extremely well here; I can only imagine how difficult it was to bring the presence of multiple characters to life without utilizing their own voice. This was a book that was weighted with a sadness most of us cannot comprehend from personal experience, but also left us with a hopeful joy that humans are resilient and are able to overcome immense trauma with the support of a few loved ones.

    This story was plopped into my lap in rare form; I wasn't expecting it to come in the mail and when I opened it I realized I hadn't heard of it. I almost never have the opportunity to find such a hidden gem these days, but I'm so glad that I chanced upon this book because it changed me in ways I'm not sure I can put into words. WNRTRL is a book easily devoured in a single sitting, but time didn't allow me this luxury, and I'm glad because I was able to better digest the heavy stuff that I may have glossed over in an unintended rush. I felt I was experiencing this story from all angles; I'm still fairly young and remember most of my childhood and adolescence with great clarity, so I didn't feel far removed from our main characters and their myriad of struggles. I'm also a mother of young children, which caused me to feel with great sorrow what Sam's mother experienced in not only losing her baby boy for three years, but in having a shell of her precious son returned to her as if some sort of cruel joke had been played on her family. My point is that a reader at any age or walk of life can get something out of this book.

    I'm not certain what age range for young adults I would recommend this to; as some parents are more strict than others I think it's up to each individual. While a majority of the story had a juvenile overtone (there is only one scene in the entire book that is sensual and it is described in a very mild mannered way), the nature of the content does make it a fairly heavy and somewhat disturbing book for the more sensitive reader. Everything is done tastefully and handled in a classy way; nothing felt done for shock value or cheapening this experience that other people have lived through, but I would feel guilty if I didn't suggest that each parent or reader consider if it's the right read for them before diving in.

    As per my usual reviews, I'm not going to go into plot details and spoilers, but there is so much to be learned through this story in terms of surviving trauma and the emotional toll it takes on everyone touched by such tragedy. I was completely caught up in this story; the characters made me feel like a part of their world and I was a little hesitant to put down the book, as I felt the mama bear in me not wanting to lose control and let these kids heal on their own as they needed to. 

     If a book can make me feel THAT, I know there's something special here. There are plenty of aspects of diversity included and done at an age appropriate level which I think will please many discerning readers of the young adult genre today. Highly recommended for those looking for a book to make them feel; all ages welcome!

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