Lost and found

by Carolyn Parkhurst

Paper Book, 2006





New York : Little, Brown and Co., 2006.


Thrown together in a televised contest, seven unlikely couples--including two flight attendants, born-again Christians, and two former child stars--participate in a reality show in which they scour the globe in search of love and treasure.

Media reviews

Parkhurst has fashioned an entertaining, unexpectedly wise novel... Her tender, witty prose catches things no camera could.

User reviews

LibraryThing member angstratread
I enjoyed this book more than I expected. Although I found most of the game aspects, especially the clues, to be somewhat silly, I really enjoyed the characters' backstories and relationships with each other. I really liked Parkhurst's writing style and her insights into relationships, particularly the mother/daughter team of Laura and Cassie.… (more)
LibraryThing member TanyaTomato
I found the characters interesting and the plot revolving around the reality show compelling.
LibraryThing member dbartlett
Teams competing on a reality tv show entitled "Lost and Found" (think "Amazing Race") find themselves not only competing against the other teams for the top prize, but also struggling to understand and get along with their own teammates. Includes lots of interesting information about how the reality shows work, including the idea that some teams are picked specifically because of the potential for conflict between the team members during the course of the race. Well written and enjoyable.… (more)
LibraryThing member sarradee
The story revolves around several teams on a reality show, where they have to travel the globe picking up odds and ends in a to be televised treasure hunt. More though, the story revolves around the backstory of why each of the teams was chosen for the show. In some way each one is dysfunctional and the producers are hoping for some juicy drama. In the end the contestants have revelations about themselves and each other.… (more)
LibraryThing member brianinbuffalo
Great premise, plugged into a timely "hook" (reality TV). Some genuinely funny moments and intriguing characters. Somehow, though, the end-product just didn't work for me.
LibraryThing member fuzzy_patters
Parkhurst's second novel take place on a worldwide, reality television scavenger hunt. The book is worth reading even if it is only read for the behind the scenes look at reality television, which is fascinating.

As for the story itself, it holds your attention, but isn't great literature. It is more like a made-for-tv movie that might be watched when nothing else is on television. The story and the characters are interesting enough, but the dialogue rings false while the plot is transparent and predictable. To make matters worse, all of the characters accept four are static, and the changes that occur to the other four are predictable throughout the book. This gives the book that made for television quality that makes it a fun time killer, but it is not exactly Earth shattering. Parkhurst's first novel, The Dogs of Babel, was a better novel with its portrayal and inquisition of death.… (more)
LibraryThing member mschwander
Students who like reality shows such as Amazing Race will really enjoy this captivating tale about contestants on the television
show, “Lost and Found ”. As pairs race around the world in search for items based on clues, we learn that each couple comes with
personal issues which the contest swiftly brings to the surface. As each team is eliminated, the show’s host dramatically (and quite
annoyingly) asks, “you’ve lost the game, but what have you found?” The story is fun and engaging as we hear it told from each of
the individual contestants.
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LibraryThing member cms519
This book was incredibly compelling. The cover and description on the back cover lead me to believe that this is a book about a mother/daughter relationship but it's much more. Multiple narrators give a view into coming out, parenting, brotherhood, ex-gay therapy efforts, and more.

I particularly connected with Cassie's experiences of discovering her sexual orientation as a young girl. It was well written and sweet.

A great read!
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LibraryThing member suetu
I don't watch reality television--ever. Oddly enough, this is the third novel I've read featuring reality television, and Lost and Found is unquestionably the best of the three. As noted above, it isn't the most original concept. What makes the novel such a pleasure to read is Parkhurst's excellent execution.

The novel takes opens in the middle of the eponymous reality show, Lost and Found. It's very much like the Amazing Race with a few twists here and there. Teams of two travel the world decifering clues on a globe-trotting scavenger hunt. The twosomes include brothers, reunited high-school sweethearts, formerly gay born-again Christians, grown-up child stars looking for a comeback, etc. As the game moves from destination to destination, the point of view switches from player to player and even to the host occasionally.

And this is where Parkhurst shines. These characters could easily have been cardboard cutouts. Instead, she imbues a real depth and richness into each of the players. Getting inside the heads of each one just made the unfolding dramas so interesting.

Plus, it was a fun, fast-paced story. All in all, Parkhurst's superior writing makes this a superior and very entertaining summer read. I kept wondering how she would end the novel. When the end finally came, I found myself completely satisfied with the story told. What more could you ask?
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LibraryThing member carmarie
I'm not sure what I was expecting when I started this book. But I had no idea it revolved around a reality show. I really enjoyed this book and the characters in them. Some of the characters were more hollow than others, but I can understand how the author would want to spend more time on others. This was an ejoyable read, however, and I liked the outcomes, especially the "Ex-gay" couple. I'm glad Abby finally "found
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LibraryThing member cabegley
"You've lost the race, but what have you found?"

In Carolyn Parkhurt's imagined reality show "Lost and Found," two-person teams travel the globe, solving clues and finding "lost" objects that they must keep with them for the duration of the game. The last team to find the object and get to the final destination of each week's episode is eliminated. As the game progresses and the number of objects (a ski pole, a parrot, an aviator helmet, etc) increases, carrying them around gets harder and harder.

The five contestants we get to know, through first-person narration, have each suffered losses: Laura and Cassie, a mother-and-daughter team, have lost each other (Laura's idea in joining the show was to bring them closer together) and the baby that Cassie carried in secret and then gave away for adoption, as well as Cassie's father, who died when she was one. Cassie lost her best friend (and secret crush) Mia. Justin and Abby, a married couple, are from an "ex-gay" religious group (they joined the show primarily because Justin wanted to show the world that God can help gay people become straight) and have of course lost their sexual identity, and because of that really their sense of self. Carl, who is on the show with his brother Jeff, has lost his marriage and is missing his sick son. Juliet, a former child actress who has been paired up with a former child actor, has lost her career (and a bit of her soul). As you could expect from the title, as the book progresses the characters either find what they lost or find acceptable (or even better) substitutes.

Parkhurst's characters are well drawn, and the reader finds herself rooting for certain outcomes (just like when watching a reality show). In an interview at the end of my copy of the book, Parhurst spends some time talking about her love of television, and in particular of reality shows. This really came through in Lost and Found--it could have been a complete skewering of reality shows, and she certainly took cracks at them, but it was more loving than scathing, and the reader was able to get caught up in the show. Because we don't get the perspective of all the contestants on the show, it's fairly clear who will be eliminated early on, which I thought was a bit of a flaw in the structure, but of course as we narrow down to our main characters it gets harder to predict the finale.

It has been a few years since I read Parkhurt's previous novel, The Dogs of Babel, but I remembered enough of the strange, elliptical nature of that book to be expecting something similar. Lost and Found is a perfectly fine book, but it's more of an easy vacation book. I breezed through it in a day and found myself wanting more meat.
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LibraryThing member krissa
I really like this book for what it was. It was a light, fun, humorous read. I was listening to this one while I worked, or even just when I was playing games. It had me hooked. I love that every chapter was told from the perspective from a different character. Also, being an audio book, it was neat to hear all the different voices and characters Blair Brown came up with. I really enjoyed this ladies reading style, and would definitely read other books narrated by her. I think it helps to be a reality show fan, but I don’t think it’s necessary. A great deal of this book is about how the characters relate to each other (their partners, and others) and dealing with stuff from their past, and revealing their motivations. Ending was a bit predictable, but that doesn’t take away from the rest of the book for me. And besides, I think I would have been a little disappointed if it had ended any other way.… (more)
LibraryThing member alanna1122
I really enjoyed this book. I love shows like the Amazing Race and thought it was a really fun frame to use for a book. I thought the characters were interesting and over the top - but given the setting - it was believable that all those people could land in each others' company. I would have liked a little more resolution on the individual stories (I felt only a few were really wrapped up - ) but it was a really fun read and I would recommended it.… (more)
LibraryThing member bexaplex
Lost and Found is a loving fictional tribute to the Amazing Race. The eponymous reality show has the pairs of contestants racing around the world gathering items in a scavenger hunt. The host is no Phil, and the ubiquitous older couple convinced they can outsmart the young whipper-snappers and who can't see a clue box right in front of them aren't there (maybe they've already been eliminated?), but if you've followed the Race you'll recognize some favorites.

The best part about the book is also the best part about the Race - it shows the good in people as well as the canny manipulative fame-hungry parts. Occasionally the nice, decent people win.
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LibraryThing member PermaSwooned
My daughter recommended this book to me because we both enjoy "The Amazing Race" so much. This was a fun book with some insights into the behind the scenes action. Interactions with the crew, especially the cameramen was a lot of fun, and it gave an idea how any confrontations might be engineered by the producers. It was fun to read a real melt-down in the book, where interestingly enough on TAR, I hate the shouting at each other from some of the contestants. I loved the random things they had to carry with them, and think it would be funny on the show. If you enjoy the show, you'll have fun with this book.… (more)
LibraryThing member WittyreaderLI
This book was one of the best books I read this year. It takes the concept of the TV show Amazing Race and applies it to a fictious TV show called "Lost and Found." The book features 7 or 8 teams in the beginning, the game is halfway over, and focuses specifically on 4 or 5 characters. Each chapter is told through a different character's perspective. Some of the characters include ex gays Abby and Justin who have dennounced their homosexuality and gotten married. There is also Cassie, who gave up a baby at birth, and her mother Laura. The characters are very likable and interesting, and the reality TV mixes well with each character's backstory. I really couldn't put this book down and found that I wanted to read it slowly so I could savor it. Read this!!… (more)
LibraryThing member indygo88
As many reviewers have noted, this novel bears a lot of similarity to TV's "Amazing Race", and it makes for an interesting platform as the subject for a book. I enjoyed the way Parkhurst alternated each character's current status in the race with so-called flashbacks to their not-so-distant past as a way to develop the characterizations. Parts of the story were somewhat predictable & maybe a little too catty, playing rather like a soap opera, but then again, I do think some people really do live soap opera lives. I still find it hard to believe a person can act really "real" when cameras are constantly in the their face, whether it be for a TV show or in a novel, so you've of course got to take the term "reality show" with a big grain of salt. While I loved the idea for this book & it maintained my interest throughout, I felt like it didn't quite live up to what it could've been.… (more)
LibraryThing member marcyjill
Like Dogs of Babel, I found this book to be very emotional. Another really creative set of circumstances to play out the stories on. Laura's struggles with motherhood I found to be particularly moving and hitting close to home. What mother doesn't fear messing up the teen years?

I raced through this book and was sad when it was over. I hope Carolyn Parkhurst publishes something new soon!… (more)
LibraryThing member kayceel
- While filming a reality tv show that’s a cross between the amazing race and a scavenger hunt, all of the contestants – a mother and daughter team struggling to come back together after the discovery of the daughter’s secret pregnancy; two brothers, one of whom has a son to whom he gave part of his liver to save him from a serious disease; ‘Team Brimstone’, a married couple, both of whom are ‘reformed’ homosexuals; and a pair of former child stars – end up working through their problems, for better or worse. I really enjoyed this – It’s fast-paced, well-written, and the characters are very well-drawn.… (more)
LibraryThing member bookappeal
This novel takes a look at reality game show (a la Amazing Race) contestants and reveals the hidden motives that go beyond their desire to win a million dollars. Each chapter takes a different character's perspective and the characters are distinct enough that it's very easy to follow the story. The most interesting pairs are the mother/daughter team trying to cope with the daughter's recent unexpected birth (and giving up for adoption) of a baby and the husband/wife team using God and religion to deny their homosexuality. The other characters and storylines are entertaining enough and Parkhurst works in a lot of humor among the drama. Though the homosexual husband's inner turmoil is revealed more thoroughly than necessary, she adds a nice twist to his story near the end. Overall, a very readable book with some speculative insight into what might really be happening in those "reality" game shows.… (more)
LibraryThing member jackieg821
This story is about a mom and daughter who end up being contestants in a reality TV show and travel the world. The teenager daughter is the typical teenager who hates her mother, and the mom is a typical mom who wants to be her daughter’s friend. THe mom signs on with the intentions of repairing her relationship with her daughter; meanwhile the daughter knows that they were only chosen because she has a secret to hide from everyone. The TV show wants to portray the innermost secrets of the contestants to get good reviews but at what cost to the contestants? The time spent together traveling abroad is what ultimately brings the two together and mends the broken relationship.
Parkhurst does capture moments of tenderness that might appeal to some; however the conclusion is excessively ideal and too cliched for me. The idea that it takes a million dollars to be on the line for one to realize how much a family member means is a worn out and hackneyed.
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LibraryThing member AuntJha
This is the book in my car right now and I just haven't had opportunity to pick it up in a long time. Maybe will return to later.
LibraryThing member jo-jo
I do believe that if you enjoy reality television shows that you will probably like this novel. The only reality shows that I really watch are Survivor and The Apprentice, but I loved this book. Even though this novel is centered around a reality show, that the winner happens to win a million dollars, it is more about the secrets and inner fears that are revealed by the characters that are playing the game. You find yourself getting to know these contestants quite well, as the alternating chapters are written in first person of the different contestants.

The book opens with Laura and Cassie, a mother and daughter team straining to keep their relationship intact. Laura is awakened in the middle of the night by her daughter Cassie to inform her that she has just given birth to a little girl. Cassie is still in high school, so you can only imagine how confused Laura was to learn that her daughter who lives in her own home was not only pregnant but just gave birth to a baby! So when Laura realized that the reality show Lost and Found was looking for contestants she thought it would be a great opportunity for the two of them to build their relationship as they see the world.

Justin and Abby were another interesting team that participated in the game. Justin and Abby are a married couple that happened to meet at a church that helps to rehabilitate homosexuals and help them live a straight life. When they met, Justin and Abby were both homosexuals but they figured they could get married and live a normal life with the help and support of each other and their church. Quite often, Abby would share her feelings with Justin when she would feel that her homosexual tendencies were about to get the best of her. Little did she know that her strong and supportive husband was struggling with his own faith and beliefs.

Carl and Jeff are a team of brothers that are competing for the grand prize. They are both recently divorced but Carl also has some pretty serious issues that are weighing him down. Later in the game the teams get switched around a little bit and you really see a different side of Carl that is quite appealing. As he shares some of his personal problems with a new team mate a new relationship is blooming.

And then we have Juliette and Dallas, who were a couple of former child-stars looking for a way to try to get in the spotlight again. It is just amazing the lengths that some people will go to just to get a little media coverage. There are many other contestants in the beginning of the novel, but as more tasks are completed, more teams are voted off.

It seems that Lost and Found is very comparable to The Amazing Race reality show, although I haven't watched this one myself. The teams are given clues and they find themselves spanning the globe with a Network credit card to get to the next location to find the answer. Through this journey, some of the contestants lives unravel and spin out of control, while others find peace and enjoyment out of the whole charade.

Like I said earlier, if you enjoy reality shows you will probably enjoy this one. The story kept my attention and I didn't find my mind wandering. Even though the chapters changed depending upon which character was narrating, it was quite easy to follow along. I just loved this one as an audiobook!
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LibraryThing member lfreire
This story is about a mom and daughter who end up being contestants in a reality TV show and travel the world. The teenager daughter is the typical teenager who hates her mother, and the mom is a typical mom who wants to be her daughter’s friend. THe mom signs on with the intentions of repairing her relationship with her daughter; meanwhile the daughter knows that they were only chosen because she has a secret to hide from everyone. The TV show wants to portray the innermost secrets of the contestants to get good reviews but at what cost to the contestants? The time spent together traveling abroad is what ultimately brings the two together and mends the broken relationship.
Parkhurst does capture moments of tenderness that might appeal to some; however the conclusion is excessively ideal and too cliched for me. The idea that it takes a million dollars to be on the line for one to realize how much a family member means is a worn out and hackneyed.
… (more)
LibraryThing member smilingsally
Because I've been swamped with other books to read and review, it took over a year for me to pick up and read this book! I was disappointed with it.

Each paragraph is written in the first-person voice of one of the contestants of the reality television game show that is the setting for this novel. The theme contains an obvious homosexual agenda. The plot moves at a steady pace, with a predictable ending.… (more)


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