Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey


Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey
First published in the UK by Harper in June 2014.

How I got this book:
Bought the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Meet Maud.

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 . . .

I had high hopes for Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey (which I read in 2015). So many friends on Goodreads and elsewhere have raved about it - even Dave thought it was great - so I am glad to report that I absolutely loved it too. Healey's portrayal of Maud is just perfect. I loved how we see her both from her own perspective and from the point of view of those around her, and the portrayal accepts that her predicament has its amusing moments, but is never malicious. At the time of reading I had two friends currently coping with their own mothers' dementia and Elizabeth Is Missing gave me a powerful insight into how tough caring for someone in this situation must be.

Maud's timeslips are nicely written and I liked that sometimes it wasn't immediately apparent whether she was in the present or the past. Also clever was the familiarity with which people such as the policeman at his station greet Maud so, as a reader, I knew that such visits were frequently repeated even though Maud herself has no memory of them. This novel has really opened my eyes to dementia and I found it a frightening prospect to think about. I also found reading the book to be an unexpectedly emotional experience, welling up at several moments.

In my opinion Elizabeth Is Missing is easily a five star read and also an important book that I think should be widely read. As I posted my rating on Goodreads I noticed another author, Anne Goodwin, has an interesting blog post about dementia in literature which also suggests other on-topic novels.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Emma Healey / Contemporary fiction / Books from England

13 comments:

  1. I haven't read this and don't intend to but I do want to know if Elizabeth is missing or not! For some reason, I do want to know!

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  2. What an interesting premise - I have to know, like Chuckles, is she missing?? Lovely review as usual, friend. Isn't it great when a book lives up to the hype?

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    1. I left this one a little for the hype to fade, but actually I could have read it straight away because it really is that good :-)

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  3. I love that you think it was done well in terms of dementia. I don't have any first hand experience of it from people close but I know from others who have been through it how awful it is and I imagine that's very difficult to portray. This sounds like an excellent read x

    Sophie
    www.glowsteady.co.uk

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    1. I thought the portrayal was wonderfully sensitive. There is humour in the novel too, but well balanced and never uncomfortable

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  4. My grandmother moved in with my family when her dementia worsened and it was a definite challenge at times.
    I don't mind reading about people with dementia and this does sound great so I'm adding it to my list.
    Enjoyed your review, Stephanie!

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    1. Thank you Sophia! I hope you enjoy the read :-)

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  5. You know, this one kind of sounds like Finding Nemo to me! There's a missing character and someone forgetful is going to be searchinf for her. Dementia is really sad - my grandfather had it before he died and it was really hard for me. It would definitely be emotional to revisit it when it comes to reading about it but I am up for it. Becuase this sounds fantastic.

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    1. Sorry to hear about your grandfather. I think Elizabeth Is Missing might be tricky for you because of those memories, but it might be helpful too?

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  6. Thanks for sharing your review. It sounds intriguing. 👍✨

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    1. At the time I read this, it was different to anything else I'd read. A wonderful and memorable novel :-)

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