We’ve all been there. We’re fifteen, and we hate our parents. They’re mean, they don’t love us and we’d be better off moving in with a mate/sneaking onto a plane to France. But our parents probably weren’t highly trained in finding and saving people, giving the running away deal a particularly special thrill . . .
I had plenty of friends who’d had children they’d had fantastic fun with – until they got into their teens. Then gradually, one by one, as their teenage children got older, the relationships deteriorated. Those lovely children became incredibly difficult: rude, stubborn, obstreperous, selfish and arrogant. Only once they had gone out into the real world did they realise the value of experience, and that they had a major resource available to them that they were related to.
You Will Never Find Me is an exaggeration of the rite of passage that every child must go through in order to be able to leave home.
When I was a teenager, the decision to leave home was much easier. My parents were from a different generation. We didn’t like the same clothes, music, movies or books. The government paid for university education. Jobs were easy to come by, and accommodation was plentiful and reasonably priced.
Today the generation gap is much narrower. Parents and children have much the same tastes. They are friends. University requires a student loan. Jobs are difficult to find, and unpaid internships are the name of the game. Accommodation is impossibly expensive. The will to leave home just isn’t there.
But Amy is different. She has found something to push against. Her parents, Charles Boxer and Mercy Danquah, split up when she was a child but remain friends. Boxer has spent much of Amy’s childhood out of the country, working as a kidnap consultant. Mercy, who Amy has lived with all her life, has been working for the Metropolitan Police in the Special Investigations arm of the Kidnap Unit.
Amy knows her parents’ weaknesses, and their strengths. She has developed a pathological contempt for everything they stand for. She cheats and lies and defies the laws by which her mother, as a police officer, must abide.
The narrative that Amy has developed in her head is that she is like this because her parents don’t love her. And they don’t love her because they’re obsessed with their jobs, which are to do with ‘saving people’. She decides to inflict the worst possible punishment, the ultimate rejection of everything they stand for. She will run away.
Not only will she run away, but, because her parents pride themselves on their professionalism, she will offer them the ultimate challenge: they will never find her.
Is Robert Wilson right, has the generation gap between parents and children narrowed in recent years? Leave us a comment, below . . .
Robert Wilson has lived and worked around the world, including spells in shipbroking, tour-guiding and exporting bathrooms to Nigeria. Eventually he settled in Portugal and turned to writing novels. Since then, he’s written many acclaimed crime novels including the CWA Gold Dagger award-winning A Small Death in Lisbon and the Falcón series, recently adapted for television. His first novel featuring Charlie Boxer, Capital Punishment, was shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger award. Find out more at Robert Wilson’s website or follow him on Twitter.