Review of Elizabeth is Missing. Book Club Choice for April.

Over-hyped. For me that was what this book was in a nutshell. It couldn’t possibly have lived up to my high expectations. From all the quotes extolling it’s magnificence on the cover I was expecting a superb read.
Don’t get me wrong, I certainly enjoyed it. If you love unreliable narrators, then you will enjoy this book just fine, but for me sadly I just found it frustrating.

The book begins with the main character Maud having just found the remains of a compact mirror in the garden, which she recognizes, and this sets up the twin mysteries of the disappearance of her friend Elizabeth, and a previous mystery – the disappearance of her older sister Sukey just after the Second World War.
The main character Maud is beautifully portrayed in the first person narrative and I grew in affection and sympathy for her as the book went on. The descriptions of her descent into dementia were both terrifying and unbearably poignant at times. Healey’s gift for language is impressive.
Where my frustration set in was with the rambling double storyline that seemed to have no end in sight and I found it a bit haphazard at times. Where the bloody hell was Elizabeth?!! I was getting as frustrated as her daughter Helen, and undoubtedly this was the effect the author intended. I was also disappointed in the ending. I won’t actually give it away here, in case someone hasn’t finished reading it yet, but my feeling was ‘I have ploughed through this book for that?’
A beautifully written novel, I loved the character of Maud and her emotional journey. My main issue was with how the plot was structured.
I look forward to hearing what you thought.

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12 thoughts on “Review of Elizabeth is Missing. Book Club Choice for April.

  1. Justine, I love the idea of reading them together. I actually read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ as a set text at school and so didn’t love it until I re-read it a few years ago, when I thought it deserved its ‘genius’ status. I am almost afraid to read ‘Go Set a Watchman’ and I desperately hope Nelle Harper Lee did indeed want to publish it. Looking forward to sharing views on it! Clare

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    1. Hi Clare. I know exactly what you mean. I am more than a little worried that the hype is going to lead to much disappointment, but we still have the original classic which I can’t wait to re-read. I am so excited to hear your thoughts once you have read the new one. Eeeek!

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    2. Clare, not sure how your comment ended up in this section. If it isn’t too much trouble, could you re-post in on the home page under the blog post about Harper Lee, so everyone can enjoy your comment. Not sure they will see it here!! I will then re-post my reply! Thanks.

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  2. I also was so fed up I didn’t finish it!! Double story just wasn’t compelling enough for me! Please tell me What happened did she ever find Elizabeth? 😄

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    1. SPOILER ALERT! Yes she did. I can hardly remember now, I think it turned out she had had a stroke and was in the hospital! The more interesting storyline I thought was how she found her sister Sukey’s remains. Anyway there you go. I know some people loved it!

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    1. Thanks Clare. How I will review ‘I am Pilgrim’ dear knows!! It will take time, that’s for sure. It is certainly a roller coaster of a read. You can tell I am studying really hard for my journalism exam tomorrow!

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  3. I’ve read some great books recently. Here are a few other recommendations:

    – Gone Girl
    – The Girl on the Train
    – Tell No One
    – Before I go to Sleep
    – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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    1. I am starting to see a bit of a pattern here! You wouldn’t be into psychological thrillers by any chance? And I thought I read a lot. Goodness, where do you find the time? The one I am desperate to read is ‘The Girl on the Train.’ as it sounds like a real page turner. Will have to check out all the others too. I am wary of Gone Girl though, as I heard that the ending is terrible? Perhaps you can tell me otherwise. These books may yet appear in future book club choices, but June is going to be my choice!

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  4. Thanks Corinne. It has been good shooting the breeze about this book and the characters. I look forward to more discussions in the future! I am really getting into ‘I am Pilgrim’ now and having trouble putting it down!

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