"Girl, I'll give you all I've got to give." - Michael Jackson, Baby Be Mine*
Found: The Best Lost, Tossed, And Forgotten Items From Around the World by Davy Rothbart (Fireside). Found was first a Christmas present for someone else. She'd pointed me towards the Found Magazine site on several occasions and when it popped up as a recommendation for me, I knew it was perfect for her. She's an archaeologist by trade, insatiably curious by nature and his given me one of the coolest reads ever: a letter from freedman to former slave master explaining why, after the end of the Civil War, he won't be returning to the plantation in the south and leave his full of promise life in the north.
It is brilliant (and brilliantly funny) and a found letter in the most real sense. A stranger's words on paper, a snapshot of unknowns without context, an odd object with a story to tell but no one to tell it...they are time capsules of humanity. After hearing her raves about the book itself, I figured it had to go onto my 52 in 52.
The best parts of Found are the pieces that are built on raw emotion -- a student's complete frustration with his or her lack of knowledge; a lover's plea for forgiveness for the stupid things he's done during his depression; records and lists of a day in someone's life. Amazing.
Nearly every piece is a revelation. I get caught up in the poor grammar on lost materials, in the large looping letters or chicken scratch scrawl of people with poor penmanship (for a refresher on my word nerd-dom perhaps an earlier 52 in 52 review?) and overt sexuality or overt emotional candor. The latter two are simply not a reflection of me, so to see it all laid out there is fascinating.
Found is a lightning quick read and well worth it. I laughed aloud several times and was nearly brought to tears on at least two occasions. The human condition is powerful. Perhaps even more powerful when we can connect with someone we know nothing about.