When Lindsay was eleven years old she was the star of tv show and one of the most popular young actresses in Hollywood. Then she started hearing voices. Specifically the voices of anyone, anywhere on Earth, that was talking about her. The constant noise – fueled by the fact that, as a highly visual celebrity lots of people were talking about her, all the time – led her to a breakdown. Now, five years later, she lives as a virtual recluse with her father. But when three well-meaning teenagers attempt to “save” her from her spartan life by kidnapping her, everything Lindsay has feared or thought she understood is called into question.
Margaret Petersen Haddix is a prolific writer. As with any of her books, the pages keep turning, but this is not one of her more enduring works. Unlike Double Identity or Running Out of Time, I don’t think this book will hold up to further readings. Too much of it just didn’t make sense. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER. For instance, if her father really did hear the voices too, why didn’t he ever mention it? It’s written off in the story as her father just being distant and distracted due to his research. But since the research was specifically to counteract the impact of the voices, why wouldn’t he, in FIVE YEARS, never have brought it up? And what in the world would possess him to let little Lindsay join a television crew when he knew that the voices were a possibility? After all, she is in a position to be discussed by hundreds of thousands of people. The ending with the prisoner was contrived and manipulative. It doesn’t make sense that all the other listeners would go outside in an attempt to help Lindsay. They can only hear when people talks about them. Why would the prisoner talk about them? END SPOILER END SPOILER
Basically, I was disappointed. The book was interesting, and I enjoyed it while I read. But once I started thinking about it, the plot basically fell apart. Even the voices are not that bad. I wouldn’t like it, don’t get me wrong. But except for Lindsay, with her nationally known persona, I can’t imagine that any individual gets talked about enough to require a hermit-like existence. The idea that people are talking about you all the time is a very self-centered one.