Monday, 21 December 2015

Book Review: Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey


Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn't remember to drink it. She goes to the 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...

Elizabeth is Missing really is a book that makes you think and I’ve heard quite a few people say that they got increasingly frustrated with Mauve, who has dementia. I have had a family member, who towards the end of his life, forgot people and would say things about the past as if they were in the present and so I could relate to the frustration of Helen, Maud’s daughter and her granddaughter, who I really liked in the book. I felt that this book was rather short, but would’ve been dragged out and unnecessary if it was longer. 

It flips to the past and present often and this is done really well to give the reader an accurate idea of Maud’s past. It’s interesting to read a modern book which then goes back to the times after the war, but I did find it quite hard to picture it in my head. I just kept imagining people living in half-built houses and walking along blown up streets, which is obviously a bit far fetched. It was also interesting to see the huge culture difference in the way that Maud’s sisters disappearance was treat and then the way that her husband acted. I did guess the ending, but the story makes you doubt whether it’s going to go the way it does.

I did get quite confused about the whole “Elizabeth” thing and I know that was a key part of the story, it was just frustrating that you didn’t really get what was going on with that. But, again that was meant to be frustrating because the author is cleverly making the reader put themselves in the shoes of someone who is increasingly losing parts of her memory and holding on so fiercely to what they can remember. I really did enjoy the book and it’s not like anything I’ve read before. It was quite predictable at times, but it’s not a mystery novel at the end of the day and so lived up to the genre it’s in. I really liked the characters, even though they were not relatable. I found Mauds granddaughter very likable and the kindness she showed her grandma was lovely to read. I did find that most of the men in the book were very unlikeable and I don’t know if that was on purpose, but I just didn’t really like any of them. 

The only criticism I have of this book is that is some areas it did feel a little rushed, especially the end. Again, (feeling like an English teacher with all my analyzing) I don’t know whether this was on purpose because Maud is in a rush to remember things while she still can and towards the end her mind is losing it’s touch with reality more and more and so the rush would be quite accurate. This is a good book and even though I have clearly thought about it all, it’s an easy read and one that doesn’t require too much thinking about. It didn’t make me cry and it didn’t make me laugh, but I did enjoy it and found it quite pleasant to sit down with a cuppa and read this. This is currently part of Amazon’s 3 for £10 deal, which is great for a stocking stuffer or for some Christmas reading.  Get it here.

Have you read this book, what did you think?

Til' next time! XOXO

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