Just published in October, Celeste Ng’s third book is again another Reese’s Book Club pick. I read her second novel, Little Fires Everywhere in 2018 and still remember it. So, I was delighted to see another book by this amazing author. Our Missing Hearts is much different from her 2018 story. It is a mixture of reality and hopefully, fantasy. Fortunately, she divided this thought-provoking book into three parts which makes the plot interesting and easy to follow.
In part I, we meet twelve-year-old Noah Gardner, known to his family as Bird, and his father, a former linguist at Cambridge. Bird’s mother disappeared three years earlier, but part I begins with a letter from her from NYC. He nor his father have heard from her in three years. We learn of the heartache of this lonely, only child and his father from snippets from their past in this part of the book. They are living under a recently organized mandate created by the government know as PACT which stands for Patient Aligned Care Team which is a government-appointed group who has been known to stifle critics of the current government and sort out people they feel are unfit parents. Since many nationalities have been targeted, Bird’s mother, a Chinese woman married to his father, decides to leave her son and husband to help the group trying to return PACT kidnapped children to their parents. Bird’s best and often only friend Sadie, disappears shorty after the story begins, and Bird’s father believes Sadie was taken because her mother was married to a man of a different race than she. Sadie’s disappearance makes Bird want to visit his former home despite warnings from his father about the dangers of a half Chinese child wandering around alone. The visit leads to Bird finding another clue about his mother’s whereabouts.
Part II tells us of Bird’s search for his mother, and his courageous journey to locate her. She is a poet who writes about topics that PACT doesn’t approve of, so Bird is helped in his search by a very good friend of his mother’s throughout part II. This section of the book is touching because of the tenderness and stories between Bird and his mother. It also shows the value of true friendship, and the importance of our freedoms as Americans.
Part III is impossible to stop reading. Most readers will read this section in one sitting. Many instances in this section are real surprises. I highly recommend this book for both entertainment and interest. One major lesson in this book is that libraries and books play a big role in our lives in keeping our minds and consciences open. For those of you who read 1984 by George Orwell, this seems to me an updated version of some of that story. I look forward to Celeste Ng’s next novel!