In The Craigslist Incident, Edna Barrett takes an advertisement out on Craigslist: I'm an 18-year-old female and I want to take a hit out on myself. Joe Dolsen, a 20-year-old who has suffered from periodic blackouts his whole life, answers the ad. What would bring two people to such ominous points at such young ages, and will they actually go through with it?
Edna, raised by a single mother after the suicide of her father, repeatedly finds herself kicked out of schools for violent altercations that don't seem to be her fault. Finally, living a solitary life in rural Minnesota and taking classes online, she falls passionately in text-love with another outsider, Shane, whose obsession with Edna sends off alarm signals to her world-weary mother, especially when he drives hundreds of miles to show up unannounced at their home.
Meanwhile, Joe is coming of age with an Evangelical mother who believes his probable epilepsy means he has been touched by God and uses her religiosity as justification for not seeking medical attention for her son and for remaining with his abusive father. As Joe and Edna reach adulthood struggling to make sense of their lives and losses, their dangerous tracks are set for collision.
Edna Barrett has had a difficult time since the death of her father causing her to have significant issues in school. Joe Dolsen has suffered blackout incidents his entire life. His mother believes that Joe's blackouts are a sign from God rather than a medical condition. Edna and Joe connect when Edna is 18 and she posts a hit for herself on Craigslist and Joe responds.
The Craigslist Incident is a unique contemporary fiction story that uses intense characters to display the mental health crisis, lack of support systems and the toll of these struggles for young adults. The story is quickly paced with short chapters alternating between Edna and Joe's points of view that built suspense up to the inevitable conclusion. Through Edna and Joe we see how events in their childhood led up to their crises as young adults. Edna's situation was unfortunate and even though her mother was supportive, she still fell through the cracks at her school and lacked support for her depression. Joe's potentially dangerous medical condition seemed to be largely ignored. The writing conveyed Edna and Joe's deep feelings, their desperation, their confusion, their need for acceptance and their cries for help. With a choose your own ending, Edna and Joe's fates are up to the reader.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.