Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Lost and Found:Showing the real side of reality TV

The title of Carolyn Parkuhurst's new book,Lost and Found,is the name of the reality show which brings all the characters together,such as Laura and Cassie,a mother-daughter team looking to reconnect after Cassie's secret pregnancy results in a home birth and giving up the baby for adoption. Other teams include Juliet and Dallas,former child stars looking to use Lost and Found as a way to make a career
comeback,Abby and Justin,Christianized ex-gays who get the nickname of Team Brimstone for all of their preaching,and brothers Carl and Jeff,who wound up on the show due to Jeff's revealing that Carl's three year old son had a major illness that required Carl to donate part of his liver to save him.

Lost and Found is a scavenger hunt in which teams of two must search for objects in different parts of the world and carry their found items with them on the way(one of their items,a parrot,is replaced at each travel point). The teams have to decipher clues and complete various tasks while not losing or damaging any of the special items. The winners get to split a million dollars and get their fifteen minutes.

Secrets are the driving force of the story;everyone wants to keep theirs private while the producers and host Barbara Fox are anxiously awaiting the drama bombs that they hope will go off on camera to keep the show afloat. Attempts are made to draw the players out emotionally,such as a show twist where the original teams are given the chance to choose new partners. Others come rather unexpectedly and have profound results on the future of the couples involved.

You can't,however,demonize the media here-many of the players did disclose their hidden truths to the producers,hoping that it would get them on the show. Not to mention that some of them,like Justin,thought they could make choices that wouldn't backfire on them with a camera crew by their side,at all times.

Parkhurst is clearly a fan of reality shows-she catches the flavor and rhythm of the game(which is very similar to The Amazing Race)along with the breezy yet heartfelt confessional style of the people(who are not only characters in the novel but"characters" on the show itself). She doesn't take the easy way out with her plot points and gets you to root for even the most unlikable folks without falling back on any cliches.

If you're looking for something to do while your favorite programs are on summer hiatus or just want a truly gripping read,seek out a copy of Lost and Found. It's one prize worth claiming that makes everyone a winner.


Jake McCafferty said...

So where do the parrots come in? Does Jimmy Buffett sing the theme song?

lady t said...

The parrots are one of the Found objects that the contestants have to lug around with them,silly boy! I do like the cover art for L&F-it's a real eye-catcher.