Book 28: Out of Reach, Carrie Arcos

So I was considering not to finish reading this book for there are certain parts which bored me big time. If it’s because of the way the story was written or I am just the biggest slacker in the world these days, I don’t know. Anyway, as I reached the last page of the last chapter, I was like… “What??? Tell me my copy has missing pages!”

A bit of a background. Out of Reach is a story of teenage drug addiction. It strongly reminded me of Last Night I Sang To The Monster, the only other fiction I’ve read about drug addiction. Rachel adores her brother Micah, who is a meth addict. And despite his addiction, Rachel believed that he is in control, after having attended rehab programs until one day he doesn’t come home. She felt guilty and somehow responsible for Micah’s voluntary disappearance, especially when she recieved a mysterious email telling her that Micah’s in danger. And so Rachel set out in search for her brother, with the help of one of Micah’s friends, Tyler. Together they tried every possibility, as slim as it was, to find Micah in Ocean Beach.

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Who is responsible? I don’t have any idea, even in the slightest, of how bad drug addiction is in where this story took place. But what I’ve noticed in the books I’ve read is that, the characters follow the same pattern – when tragedy strikes, may it be suicide, addiction, or even insanity, they tend to feel responsible for what happened. Either they take the blame entirely, or sometimes, partially, then try to come up with another person to put the blame into. If only I’d listened to her/him. I should’ve seen the signs. I should’ve told someone else when it felt like she/he was losing her/his mind… these are the most common phrases or dialogues I’ve read. I’m not saying it’s wrong, because I think that’s an initial instinct. It’s just that, more often than not, the person in question’s responsibility for his/her actions is set aside. And it’s just not fair.

Questions… questions. The book didn’t mention why Micah suddenly disappeared. Is it because of his guilt being addict? He dropped from school and became a dealer, which is graver that being a user, after all the efforts his parents had done to help him get clean. Did that mean the rehab program is ineffective? After attending sessions of it, there was no improvement on Micah’s part, if any, he actually became worse. How did he become addicted in the first place? There wasn’t any mention of peer pressure or anything, only Rachel tracing their family genealogy, marking those members who suffered from alcoholism, addiction and heavy smoking. If addiction is genetic, then, does that mean that those people who have addiction in their family history have a slim chance of being clean?

The ending. The blurb mentions something about love blossoming between Tyler and Rachel as they search the streets for Micah. Only, after a few banters about dates, Tyler mentioning how special Rachel is, and the night message thru SMS, I don’t have any idea what happened to them next. Did they end up together, or did Tyler still consider his friendship with Micah? And the ultimate question which left me hanging… where is Micah??? Did he just disappear like that? Whay happened to him? There was a mention that his life is in danger, but in the end, there is this gaping hole of a question mark. Is he dead? On the run? Or has he totally lost his mind? I am itching to know.

I don’t know if there’s a second book available which holds the answers to my questions. But if there’s one, I’m not sure I’m gonna read it. I really did struggle to finish this book (despite the number of pages) and I still have a long way to go for my reading challenge. But if you are into books that talk about social issues, then you may want to give this a shot.

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