I had already placed “The Returned” on my list of books to read, but became even more intrigued after learning that the book was the basis for the ABC show “Resurrection” debuting tomorrow. The premise was that people who died suddenly arrived back on Earth as if they had never left. The story was very event driven, and began when eight year old Jacob returned to his parents, Harold and Lucille, after he drowned more than forty years ago. I appreciated the strong writing and realistic characters who were challenged by the civil unrest created by society’s reactions to the Returned.
The main story focused on Jacob’s parents as they tried to reconcile his return with their own beliefs. The upheaval created by the Returned was magnified in the small town where Harold and Lucille lived, and served to show how neighbors react to each other under pressure. Mott also provided small glimpses into the circumstances of other Returneds that showed the different ways people responded to them. Those glimpses were too brief for me in the book, but I anticipate that the television show will highlight them in more depth. Jacob’s parents developed as people when faced with the social and religious challenges presented, and they were great characters. I not only like stories with a good resolution, I need stories with a full explanation of why things happened, and I felt that was missing here.
Even though I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending, I enjoyed the book and can’t wait for the show to air.