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Extended Audio Sample My Abandonment, by Peter Rock Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,901 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Peter Rock Narrator: Tai Sammons Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Thirteen-year-old Caroline has been raised and home-schooled by her father in a wild nature preserve on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon. There they inhabit an elaborate cave shelter, wash in a nearby creek, use a makeshift septic system, tend a garden, and follow a rigid code of behavior that enables them to survive in this wilderness. Once a week, they go to the city to buy groceries, attend church, and otherwise merge with the civilized world. Yet one small mistake allows the authorities to discover them. Their forced relocation is only a brief respite in their flight from a world that can’t understand them.

Inspired by a true story and told through the startlingly sincere voice of young Caroline, My Abandonment is a mesmerizing, completely original story of survival, hope, and triumphant transformation.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This beautiful, strange novel takes us into the foreign country where those called homeless are at home, the city is wilderness, and the greater wilderness lies beyond. Fascinating and moving, it tells with great tenderness how human love goes wrong.”

    Ursula Le Guin

  • My Abandonment is an electrically charged, bone deep, and tender tale of loss and partial redemption. Surreal, haunting, elegiac.”

    James Ellroy

  • “This is a tale of survival, of love and attachment, of mystery and alienation. It is an utterly entrancing book, a bow to Thoreau and a nod to the detective story. Every step of this narrative…rings true.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Tai Sammons’ narration commands attention. Her matter-of-fact recounting of daily events deepens the mystery surrounding the two. In a straightforward, unemotional delivery, Sammons imparts Father’s paranoia, Caroline’s ability to calm him from his helicopter dreams, and her frequently lyrical observations concerning her education, her occasional bouts of loneliness, and their day-to-day survival. Definitely a worthwhile listen.”


  • “The novel has many uneasy moments and allusions to stories left untold in Caroline’s life, but Rock’s insight into his characters’ worries and hopes propels the story to its emotional conclusion. A compelling read; recommended for all fiction collections.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “[A] deeply unsettling and finely wrought tale…Rock deftly ratchets up the uncertainties, and the idyllic edges past the unusual toward the unthinkable and the tragic...My Abandonment is a haunting story, masterfully told.”


  • “[A] spare, haunting tale…It’s a strange kind of love story, inspiring us to ponder large questions—what it means to be a responsible parent, and whether, in the modern world, the tension between the urge to live a solitary existence of rugged integrity can be reconciled with the implacable demands of civilization…These questions, and others equally challenging, make this novel a thoughtful one that readers will savor.”


  • Winner of the 2010 YALSA Alex Award
  • An Oregonian Top 10 Northwest Books of the Year
  • Selected for the March 2009 Indie Next List
  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of Novels on Women in the Wild

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Andrea | 2/15/2014

    " This was just a strange book. I appreciated that I knew the general terrain/setting of this book because I hail from Portland, but... I am at a loss for words on how to describe it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Susan | 2/13/2014

    " I finished this a few weeks back and just now am getting to the review. I was intrigued because we live right next to the park that part of this is set in. It was not what I expected but still and interesting read. Not my favorite but I don't look at "homeless" girls on the street of Portland the same. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Evan | 2/11/2014

    " It's often more interesting to read books set in places that we know; this is no exception. Inspired by the story of the man and daughter who lived in Forest Park for years, this story also talks about Sisters and Portland adventures overall. Touching, sad, story about trust, independence, love, and risk. A bit reminiscent of "The Road" for me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Gabrielle | 2/11/2014

    " This book was selected for fall term as the "Chemeketa Reads" pick. Maybe it is because the author is local, and we'll be able to get him on campus easily... too bad, though. I was not impressed with this book. There were elements of it that should have carried it: a compelling story from local news, a concrete sampling of local geography (those parts I did like) but over all it didn't click into place. Two things particularly disappointed: the too frequent sentences where the subject/object/pronoun/verb tense agreement was really screwed up. It just came off as poor editing. Bigger, though, was the sloppy seaming together of additional real-life father/daughter in-the-news stories. I am 100% in favor of taking ideas from wherever they reside -- I can hardly be bothered to cite a source in my art work -- but taking multiple sources and laying them next to each other is no where near as interesting as layering them and adding to them and making them anew out of the dense packing of life's fodder. Will other people like it? Probably. Other people remark on "The Lovely Bones" too as if it is great literature. Bah. "

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