MB Caschetta had so much insight when I interviewed her about her novel Miracle Girls. The novel takes place in the 1970s, and Cee-Cee Bianco is 10 years old, living in upstate New York. Her father is a jobless drunk and her mother has a bad habit of taking off, unannounced, for days at a time. Two of her three older brothers are kind, but the oldest one carries an anger inside him that he can’t tamp down; he looks at her funny. On top of all that, Cee-Cee sees angels. They hover and glow and give her messages and make her faint. Sometimes, when they’re around, her vision expands. She can visualize the suffering of other girls—girls in basements, girls who’ve been hit, kidnapped girls, girls who don’t know how to go on.
Here’s a bit of what MB Cashetta had to say. Read the full interview at Mediander.
For myself, vanishing girls are particularly resonant—not because I was kidnapped as a child (I wasn’t), but because traumatic events at home, while still tucked in my bed, made me find ways of learning how to make myself disappear without going anywhere. An intact imagination during a difficult situation can lead to some magical, spiritual options.
The novel takes place in the early 1970s, a time that started a wave of crimes against children that weren’t only based on money. Earlier kidnapping cases tended to involve rich families with children held for ransom. Missing persons cases have increased something like sixfold over the past decades, due to a growth in population and other factors.
In such a context, young girls are naturally the most vulnerable in terms of powerlessness. And I would venture to guess that the writers you mention are attempting to get our culture a little more obsessed with the kind of violence that is involved in girls being kidnapped. Obama’s speech for the Grammys was a step in the right direction, but on the whole I think more concern is warranted.