I wrote this review a few weeks back but was not able to post it. Well, at least it's still relevant.
CRY NO MORE by Linda Howard
I was not satisfied with the output of my favourite authors lately (Jude Deveraux, Judith McNaught,Julie Garwood), that was why I was pleasantly surprised when I finished Linda Howard's book that I found in Powerbooks.
It's a relatively old book published in 2003, but it still managed to leave an impact on me regardless of the publishing date. Morevoer, the scenes described in the book were so poignant and intense that I could actually feel and imagine myself being in that situation.
The story revolved around a woman who lost her child to kidnappers. She was stabbed and almost bled to the death in the proces. When she recovered, she was told that no ransom was demanded for her son. In her grief, she devoted her time and efforts in finding her son that she ignored her husband and their marriage which inevitably ended in divorce (the book also spouted a statistic wherein almost all couples who are victims of kidnapped children end up separating). Even if she didn't ask for it, her husband provided her with a generous alimony and a medium-sized condo unit which according to her husband, is his way of helping her with the search. He eventually got on with his life by remarrying and have two kids.
It has been 10 years since our heroine's son was kidnapped and it was only a couple years ago wherein she had her first solid lead regarding her child's disappearance. She also managed to start an organization whose purpose is to assist police and other government agencies in search for missing people--especially children. She pursued her lead and much to her consternation, had to team up with a person with questionable character.
In their investigation, they discovered that there was a human smuggling ring operating in the vicinity of their neighborhood. The woman's OB-Gyne, who is also their friend, reported births to the head honcho and he orders the kidnappings. They smuggle the babies to other countries where they are subsequently adopted--with the adoptive parents and lawyers believing that the babies are acquired through legal means. By then, their baby was adopted by an upstanding couple and was obviously and dearly loved by both.
It was here wherein the beauty of the book lies. I read this chapter again and again and still managed to shed tears in the process. I myself was left wondering how everything would end up. The woman spent 10 years looking for her son and now that she found him, what will she do? Will she fight for him or leave him be?
The next thing that happened was expected but it still surprised me. She met with her son's adoptive parents and informed them of the circumstances surrounding their son's adoption. Expecting that their son will be taken away, they were majorly surprised when they were handed a legal document with the biological parents relinquishing their rights to their child.
As the woman's partner said, it was the most hard-assed courageous thing that he had ever seen someone do. And so have I.
Giving up your child, moreover, having searched for him and devoted your life to him for the last 10 years, just like that, can take a lot from a woman. Her family and friends have been telling her to move on but she refused. Her partner even thought that she would run away with her son once she finds him. But all the while, all that she ever wanted, was to find out if he was alive, if he was safe, and if he was loved. When she found her answers, it was the time she let go.
Of course, she was a wreck afterwards. She spent three weeks crying and functioning like a robot until she woke up one day and clearly looked around her. She was numb, yes, but the pain was not that sharp anymore. Moreover, her partner stayed with her throughout her time of sorrow and need.
The mother moved and married her partner and had 3 kids. She learned to be happy again and managed to let go of the pain and guilt. And what made the ending happier, her grown son came to visit her of his own accord.
I loved this book because it made me see the other side of the fence. Call me heartless but I have low tolerance for people who refuses to move on with their lives, especially if it involves break-ups. I totally agreed with the mother's relatives and friends when they told her to move on. I was silently telling her to let go and rebuild her life. She refused to heed their advice, and in hindsight, I'm glad.
People have different ways in dealing with sorrow and grief. Other people take twice the time to move on, and other have different ways of closure. For our heroine, her closure is finding what happened to her son. Even if she did manage to move on, there will be that niggling thought of not knowing if her son is alive, or dead, or if he is alive, is he ok.
This book taught me to think twice before telling a person to "move on". It's not that easy until you walk in their shoes.