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Extended Audio Sample My Abandonment Audiobook, 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: March 2009 ISBN: 9781455192540
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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.

Download and start listening now!

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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.”

    AudioFile

  • “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.”

    Booklist

  • “[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.”

    Bookpage

  • 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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Scott | 2/4/2014

    " An homage to Elizabeth Smart and all abducted. This disturbing read outlines all of the successful ways to be hidden and to be proactive in maintaining that status. Caroline and her father are a family set a part from society yet fully surrounded by it. Over time, the father's lunacy and "abductive" tendencies become almost hereditary. Caroline grows to know how to hide, how to tempt being hidden, and how to carry on this tradition as she eventually becomes an adult "living the dream" of her father. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kaleb | 1/30/2014

    " Like nature herself - 'My Abandonment' is rugged, disturbing and ultimately a thing of beauty & wonder. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gina | 1/18/2014

    " This author is a friend of a friend, so he came to our book group last week to talk about this book. This was a wonderful book about a 13 year old girl and her father who lived for 4 years in Forest Park in Portland. Peter is from SLC and has written several books. This is the first one I've read, but I want to read his others. He is very pleasant and talented. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ellenh | 1/14/2014

    " Disturbing, riviting, tender, beautiful & strange. A young girl and her Father living in the wilderness in the city until they are discovered, changing everything. I read this in one day. Glad my friend had read it so we could exclaim, " what about that?" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sheila | 12/31/2013

    " A very interesting book about a father/daughter pair who are living in the forest at the edge of town. Beware: this is not necessarily a happy tale. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela | 12/25/2013

    " Kind of a cross between Emma Donoghue's Room and the movie Hanna. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marisa | 12/20/2013

    " Wow. Thank you Erica for the suggestion. Amazing writing. I listened on cd, I actually might pick up the book because I think some books are truly better read, and I think this is one of them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 PS | 12/17/2013

    " This book created the liveliest discussion at My Book Club that I can remember. That it is based on a true story makes it all the more fascinating. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paula Gallagher | 12/4/2013

    " I wanted to like this more than I did. The prose was too distant, too removed from any actual emotions. Maybe that was the point, but by the end I was scratching my head. I wasn't thrilled with the plot turn at the end; I felt it was implausible and sensational. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tracy | 12/3/2013

    " I was prepared to give this book four solid stars until I got closer to the end - the conclusion of the story was NOT what I expected or wanted to happen! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Andrea | 12/30/2012

    " I just don't know what to say.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marie Kelleher | 6/3/2012

    " I read this book right after I read Emma Donohughe's "Room." In some ways, they are very different, but both are written from the perspective of young people growing up isolated, and creating their own understanding of how the world works. I liked Room better, but the two books make a nice pairing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 3/14/2012

    " Truthfully, this book will require some processing, and I have not taken the time to do so. I enjoyed it. Finished in a day. Was not familiar with Peter Rock before this book. Maybe someday I will get back to writing a real review... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 12/13/2011

    " Very good, I enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kara Meade | 11/3/2011

    " I liked the authors voice and it held true throughout the story. It was an interesting tale but I was a little disappointed in the ending but would still read it again. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Barbara Wegner | 10/24/2011

    " Based on a true story of a father and his daughter living for years in the woods of a city park. After they were found, they lived for a short time on a farm, then disappeared again. I didn't like the way the imaginary story of their lives was projected from there. It didn't seem real. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angela | 4/30/2011

    " Haunting, well told, disturbing, and I'm not sure I'm glad I read it yet I couldn't put it down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diana | 4/22/2011

    " "squint my ears"; the strength of self-reliance and power of personal choice; emerson, thoreau, rousseau
    Was her "Father" really her father, or did he kidnap her? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Theresa | 4/20/2011

    " Good Book. I struggled a little at the beginning as the writing it definitely like a 13 year old would write. I loved that it was set in places that I recognized and that it was based, if not loosely, on a real event. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jill | 4/4/2011

    " nothing great. based on a true story but the ending was completely made up. from reading reviews, i am not sure if the man was the girl's real father or if he kidnapped her. either way, i'd like to of known what happened to her. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 3/21/2011

    " Riveting and disturbing. I finished this last night, and haven't been able to stop thinking about it. The end of the book leaves you with more questions than answers, certainly, but the descriptions, characters and world that is created for the reader are absolutely engrossing and deeply felt. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Doug | 3/6/2011

    " Fascinating story and appealed to the Boy Scout in me. Helped me think differently about so-called drifters and what society causes us to do. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eric | 2/27/2011

    " It was pretty good. But not sure I liked the ending. And I'm still not completely clear on some things. "

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About the Author
Author Peter Rock

Peter Rock is the author of four novels, including The Bewildered, and a collection of stories, The Unsettling. He teaches writing at Reed College and lives in Portland, Oregon.

About the Narrator

Tai Sammons earned her degree in theater from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, where she worked at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. This award-winning actress currently resides upstate in Portland, with her beloved black pug, Oscar.