Wilson, Martin. “We Now Return to Regular Life”, Dial Books, 2017.
The Power of Friendship
Sam Walsh had been missing for three years. His older sister, Beth, thought he was dead. His childhood friend Josh thought it was all his fault. They were the last two people to see him alive. Everything changed when Sam is found and he’s coming home. Beth desperately wants to understand what happened to her brother, but her family refuses to talk about it even though Sam is clearly still affected by the abuse he faced at the hands of his captor.
As Sam starts to confide in Josh about his past, Josh can’t admit the truths he’s hidden deep within himself— he’s gay, and developing feelings for Sam. But there is also something else, something that he never told the police that he saw the day Sam disappeared.
Beth and Josh struggle with their own issues and soon their friends and neighbors slowly turn on Sam. One night everything explodes when Beth realized that she can’t live in silence and Josh understood that he can’t live with his secrets. Sam just can’t continue on until the whole truth of what happened to him is out in the open. “We Now Return to Regular Life” is a book about learning to be an ally (even when the community around you doesn’t want you to be).
Sam returns home and is no longer the mischievous boy he once was.. Sam’s recovery, through the points of view of Beth and Josh, unravels cracks in all their lives and maybe a way to forward if they were just able to learn to trust each other.
I was pulled into this story on the first page and found myself really carrying about the young characters that we meet here. While Sam is the main character I understood that I did not know much about him and this was author Martin Wilson’s intention.
Beth and Josh tell the story from their points of view and we get hints that they might have played some part in Sam’s disappearance three years earlier and they both play parts in his return and attempt at recovery. The dynamics between Sam, Beth and their mother and stepfather are realistic. The story moves quickly and we het peeks at Alabama, religion, and family drama. More importantly, we see what happens to a damaged survivor and what his return means to those around him.