Saturday, 10 January 2015

Review: Elizabeth is Missing

Book: Elizabeth is Missing
Author: Emma Healey
Publication Date: June 2014
Pages: 320

Summary (From GoodReads):
Elizabeth is Missing, Emma Healey's stunning debut novel, introduces a mystery, an unsolved crime and one of the most unforgettable characters since Mark Haddon's Christopher. Meet Maud ...

'Elizabeth is missing', reads the note in Maud's pocket in her own handwriting.
Lately, Maud's been getting forgetful. She keeps buying peach slices when she has a cupboard full, forgets to drink the cups of tea she's made and writes notes to remind herself of things. But Maud is determined to discover what has happened to her friend, Elizabeth, and what it has to do with the unsolved disappearance of her sister Sukey, years back, just after the war.
A fast-paced mystery with a wonderful leading character: Maud will make you laugh and cry, but she certainly won't be forgotten.

My Thoughts:

Reviewing this book is kind of hard for me. I didn't know about any of the hype when I brought it, apart from the fact that it was in Richard and Judy's book club and I got it for a £1 when I brought a second book from WH Smiths. I decided to pick it up because I found the first page interesting and I was intrigued to see how the concept of dementia would be played out.

There's quite a lot of different opinions when it comes to individual reviews on Elizabeth is missing. General tabloids seem to all commend it while there are some reviews done by readers that don't seem to understand the hype.

I must say I am one of those readers.

For me, the main reasons I liked this book was because of the concept of dementia and because I liked Maud's character, both young and old. I thought Healey managed to portray an old woman with dementia very realistically, and it certainly helped me to understand the disease. I really felt for Maud and her ever growing confusion with general life, even to the point of forgetting words such as pencil and bench. When people misunderstood what she wanted or meant, I wished I was able to speak for her. It was amazing how Maud would start with knowing exactly what she wanted to do, and then a few sentences later she would be completely lost and bewildered


The actual storyline, both in the past and present confused the hell out of me. I understood that people were missing and in both cases no one was telling Maud what she wanted to hear. I also get that because of the unreliable narrator nature of Maud's narrative, I should have taken more things with a pinch of salt. However, I get what happened to Elizabeth, but what happened to Sukey I am none the wiser. I felt that the conclusion was kind of rushed and appeared out of nowhere and was too open to be satisfying. Even as I type this I remember the confusion I felt when I finished the book, I even googled to try and find an explanation of the ending. I didn't understand how Elizabeth suddenly reached the conclusion, why her daughter suddenly decided to cooperate, how Elizabeth became linked with the whole thing.

I feel like a missed a whole chapter that everyone else read that explained everything.

Anyhow to sum everything up, this book was good for the concepts it explored and I feel that's one of the main reasons why it has gathered so much attention. That being said, I read the book quite fast and I can't remember getting bored or wanting the book to finish quickly. I would recommend reading it so you can gather your own opinion and read about the devastating effects dementia can have on a person and their family.

Food Rating: 6/8
Page Rating: 3/5

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