Blogger Book Club #1: Elizabeth Is Missing

25.5.15

Welcome to an exciting new series! A couple of blogger friends and I are real book worms and after toying with the idea of setting up a blogger book club for a while, we bit the bullet and went for it.  Every month, Lizzie, Leanne and I will be reading a specific book and sharing our thoughts with you.  And this month we went for Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey.

I feature short reviews every couple of weeks, but have decided to do these more in depth ones in a slightly different way.  I'll be sharing with you my thoughts in anticipation of reading the book, midway through and again at the end.

Onto the review...

"Maud is forgetful.  She makes a cup of tea and doesn't remember to drink it.  She goes tot he shops and forgets why she went.  Sometimes her home is unrecognizable - or her daughter Helen seems a total stranger.

But there's one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing.  The note in her pocket tells her so.  And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it.

Because somewhere in Maud's damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery.  One everyone has forgotten about.

Everyone, except Maud...."

Before | I'd been eying up this book for a while.  The premise of it is that her friend Elizabeth is missing, but only Maud seems worried by this.  Trouble is, Maud is suffering with dementia and can't actually remember much.  But she knows Elizabeth is missing, so how can she make everyone else believe?  I was excited to get started with this and was hopeful it'd be a unique and interesting read.

During |  Reading the book soon began to feel like a chore, and I could only manage a chapter or two in one sitting.  It's written through Maud's eyes and as such reflects how disjointed and confused her thoughts are.  It really helps to build up empathy for Maud, her condition and her lifestyle but was frustrating to read.  I felt as though the story wasn't progressing, and was more about the journey of Maud's everyday life rather than the end destination and storyline.  Flashbacks to Maud's childhood are cleverly linked into (and provide a bit of a break from) the story; these were much easier to read as they reference a time in her life when she didn't suffer with memory loss.  There are very few additional characters in Maud's 'current' life, and being mentioned through Maud's narrative means they aren't developed fully and are hard to really get to know.

After | I really started to enjoy the book for the second half.  It picked up a pace, and the mystery of Maud's early life starts to unravel.  The flashbacks tell the tale of how her older sister went missing, and it was this aspect of the book that really gripped me.  The ending ties up all loose ends nicely, but I honestly can't actually remember the outcome.  Was it an unforgettable (pardon the pun) read?  In truth, no.  It was sensitively written and gave me an insight into the damaging effects of dementia, but wasn't the groundbreaking story I'd hoped it would be.

But don't take my word for it!  Elizabeth Is Missing was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award last year, amongst others, and has good reviews online.....I'd love to know your thoughts if you've read this yet?

// Don't forget to read Lizzie's review and Leanne's too! //

4 comments

  1. Great review - I have this on Audible but I'm yet to start listening to it so I wonder how it'll work as an audio-book...x
    LilyLipstick

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  2. I've started reading this but stopped half way through as I got bored. Maybe I'll keep going if it picks up in the second half! xx

    Jessie | allthingsbeautiful-x

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  3. I lenjoyed this, and I loved the big reveal of this book, I found myself trying to guess the 'who done it?' the whole way through. But I know what you mean about struggling at the beginning - me too.
    If you want a REALLY good book that focuses on dementia, read 'Still Alice' - Amazing.
    x tink x
    allabouttink.co.uk

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  4. I really liked it. I was hooked early on and really felt for Maud - it made me think a lot about how we treat older people, whether or not they're suffering from dementia.

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