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Miss Me When I'm Gone: A Novel

3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  677 Ratings  ·  149 Reviews
“A very clever wordsmith.”
New York Times Book Review

“Ms. Arsenault…reveals strange truths beneath everyday surfaces.”
Wall Street Journal

Emily Arsenault’s first two novels, Broken Teaglass (“a beautifully written, engaging mystery” —Dorothy Allison) and In Search of the Rose Notes, received resounding critical acclaim. With her third, Miss Me When I’m Gone, she firmly re
ebook, 384 pages
Published July 31st 2012 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Lydia Presley
I am seriously confused on how to rate and review Miss Me When I'm Gone by Emily Arsenault. Because I loved sections of the book with a deep, abiding love (Tammy, Dolly, Loretta - how could you not if you were any type of old country fan?) and could not stand other sections of the book.

Let me explain via a quick route through a summary. In Miss Me When I'm Gone, we never get to meet "face to face" Gretchen, instead we get to know her through her memoir "Tammyland," and the investigation of her b
Amy Lignor
This is a novel that readers must certainly pay attention to as the drama unfolds.

Gretchen Waters is the lady that this particular story wraps around; a young author whose book about female country singers, Tammyland, has been widely appreciated. One day, after a book event has come to a close, Gretchen is found dead at the bottom of a set of stairs. What’s first considered a tragic accident is soon rethought by the police when they find Gretchen’s purse missing from the scene.

At the time of he
Katherine Clark
This was an odd one. I really enjoyed it until I came close to the end. I'm not sure what kind of turned me off to it. I did figure out the killer and the seducer way ahead--maybe that's it. I also didn't like the really really stupid risk the pregnant protag put herself into. It was odd. But the premise was clevr--a book within a book. And the internal book was called Tammyland, based on the life of country singer Tammy Wynette along with info about other female country singers. I loved that as ...more
Luanne Ollivier

I read and enjoyed Emily Arsenault's previous book - In Search of the Rose Notes - last year.

In her latest release, Miss Me When I'm Gone, Arsenault again utilizes journals, books and visiting the past to solve the present.

Gretchen and Jamie were close friends in college, but their lives diverged as time passed. Jamie is married to Sam, expecting her first child and works as a part time editor. Gretchen is divorced, childless and a published author. Her first book was called Tammyland - a m
nomadreader (Carrie D-L)
(originally published at

The basics: When Jamie's best friend from college, Gretchen, suddenly dies, she's asked to serve as her literary executor. Gretchen was in the midst of writing a second memoir after the success of her first: Tammyland, part road trip to important sites for women in county music and part personal reflection on her own life and relationships. It was hugely successful and described as a honky-tonk Eat, Pray Love. With increasing suspicion aro
Aug 01, 2016 Valerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gretchen Waters is an author who made a name for herself by writing a book called "Tammyland", the stories of several female country music singers such as Loretta Lynn, Dottie West, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette. Gretchen had given a talk one night at a bookstore in a town in Massachusetts near where she lived, and after the talk, she apparently fell down a steep flight of concrete steps and due to the nature of her injuries, died. In her will, Gretchen named Jamie, her best friend ...more
Jul 04, 2012 Virginia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was described as a “Honky-tonk” Eat, Pray, Love. I wouldn’t have described it that way. It is the story of two women who were college friends. Both write, one, Gretchen, is a successful novelist working on her second book and the other, Jamie is a pregnant journalist.
The story begins when Gretchen falls down the stairs outside of a small town library after doing a book signing. At first it looks like an accident but when they find her purse several towns away in a lake, they know it
In the hands of a writer with a vision, words on a page can transform an everyday scene into an evocative and memorable image, and so it goes with this latest offering by Emily Arsenault.

Writer Gretchen Waters, currently working on a follow up to her first novel Tammyland, has met an untimely end via a fall down a flight of stairs. Her family has asked her old college roommate, journalist Jamie Madden, to assist in going through Gretchen's notes and recorded interviews to facilitate the assembly
Apr 16, 2013 Hira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In "Miss Me When I'm Gone" by Emily Arsenault, Jamie finds out that she her friend Gretchen has died on the steps of the library, and is asked by her mother to put together the book Gretchen was currently working on. But when Jamie acts as her literary executioner, she realizes that the book Gretchen was supposed to be writing, was in fact not about the subject she was supposed to be writing about! Instead of being about country singers, her book happened to be about her past, her mother - to be ...more
I would have given this book 3.5 stars if it were an option. The story was really interesting, but the most I liked the book was at the very end, and not because it was over, but because something finally happened. There was a lot of buildup and a lot of back story, which I'll admit was necessary for the story to work, but it felt a bit endless.

I did like the set up of the story; there are three different sections, and the book cycles through them a number of times. One section is the main char
Jul 08, 2012 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
One of my free books from goodreads and the first book I've ever read by this author.
Read it in 2 days - hated to have to put it down! Combining old time country music with
a present day murder mystery kept my interest completely. Unlike other books where the
author jumps between the present and the past this book flowed effortlessly. Will read
it again in the future.
Nov 27, 2016 Melanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some really killer writing in this book - stuff that makes you go "oh, wow, someone else GETS it". I'm not a country music fan but it made me want to go listen to some Tammy and hear what Gretchen hears in that music.
Ellen Dark
A story about college friendships, country music, and two deaths, one an unsolved murder from over twenty years earlier. I learned a lot about several country music stars, and the book was easy to read. It is a mixture of "live action," excerpts from "Tammyland" and the research notes by a dead author.
Ryan G
When I'm at a loss to how to start a review, I find it's easier if I just admit it up front. The few times I try and get around that fact, the review just doesn't seem to come out well, and I end up redoing it anyway. So let me start by saying I'm so stuck on this one that I feel as if my fingers are encased in molasses. I have no idea what I want to say, because I have no idea on what I feel towards this book. I don't want anyone to think that ambivalence means I didn't like it, because if you ...more
Andrea at Reading Lark
Review Posted on Reading Lark 8/7/12

Emily Arsenault has done it again. Miss Me When I'm Gone is another well crafted mystery that spotlights the darkness that lurks in the human soul. I am often so amazed by writers who can craft compelling mysteries, but Arsenault is something beyond my normal fascination. She elevates the traditional "who-dunnit" story to one full of dark, twisted turns and paths through dark alleys of family secrets. The depth of her ch
Carolyn Hill
Feb 20, 2014 Carolyn Hill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Miss Me When I'm Gone is one of the most unusual mysteries I've read. Somehow I stumbled upon this at the library, and the blurb made it sound like an interesting premise. The title is an old Carter family song, and the personal histories of some of the female icons of classic country music entwined in the narrative gave the book a uniquely memorable angle. The lives of Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton, among others, are chronicled in a memoir about divorce called Tammyland written ...more
Angie Fehl
Fictitious author Gretchen Waters shoots to literary stardom with her roadtrip-memoir Tammyland, which pays homage to her favorite female country singers, sharing stories of how their songs shaped different points of her life. While working on her second book, another memoir style focusing more on her family's personal secrets (while tying in her favorite male country music stars this time), Waters takes a tumble down a flight of library steps. She's instantly killed.

Gretchen's somewhat estrange
Bonnie Randall
Mar 06, 2016 Bonnie Randall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
There is a glamor to classic country queens, but it is a frantic sort of glamor. A little-girl-playing-vamp sort of vibe to Tammy Wynette, and Dottie West, and even Dolly Parton—who has made herself into a human blow-up doll just, it seems, to jab a mocking stick at sexual expectations and all these expectations mean for female entertainers. Only Loretta Lynn is more authentic (and thereby grittier)….and therefore more credible, and less noteworthy in the (fictional) autobiography of heroine Gre ...more
Jamie is almost seven months pregnant when her college friend, Gretchen Waters, dies suddenly and under mysterious circumstances. Gretchen had been working on a follow-up to her first book, Tammyland, when she died, but when Jamie is given her notes, it appears that Gretchen had changed her plans for the book and was investigating her mother's murder and her paternity instead. It seems that someone has had a secret for many years, and that someone does not appreciate Jamie following up on Gretch ...more
Feb 28, 2014 Jan rated it it was ok
Jamie and Gretchen became best buds in college. They apparently clicked like no pair before or since and remained close into their early 30s, when Gretchen divorced her husband, Jamie became pregnant, and their lives diverged. Gretchen published a very popular memoir interspersed with tales of her favorite female country singers, a book called “Tammyland,” and had begun extensive work on a second book, intended to be about male country singers, when she was killed in a fall.

Left behind are nume
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
I could get embroiled in recapping this, so I'm going to try to be brief. Jamie, seven-months pregnant, is named unofficial literary executor when her friend Gretchen dies from a suspicious fall after a reading. Gretchen penned Tammyland -- a honky-tonk Eat Pray Love, of sorts, featuring female country music stars -- and was working on a sequel, ostensibly featuring male country music stars. Quickly Jamie learns, however, that Gretchen was actually pursuing her own past: her mother's murder and ...more
In MISS ME WHEN I'M GONE by Emily Arsenault, Gretchen, a bestselling author of a book about female country music singers, has died on the library steps after a book event there. Her mother has asked Jamie, Gretchen's friend, to put together Gretchen's notes for the next book she was writing, this time about male country singers, and prepare it for publication. That is the setup for the rest of the story, Jamie's work as Gretchen's literary executor.

The chapters in this book are written variously
Jun 21, 2012 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, first-reads
Miss Me When I'm Gone" by Emily Arsenault is a fascinating intricate mystery. It is also a tribute to the early founders of country music, A.P. Carter, June Carter Cash, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn and several others.

Jamie and Gretchen were close friends in college. When Jamie received an e-mail from Gretchen later in her life, Jamie put off answering it. Later, she found out that Gretchen died after falling down some library steps. Gretchen had written a best seller,
Feb 04, 2015 Maria rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of country music
Shelves: mystery-thriller
I liked this book most of the way through, but there were a few spots that bothered me.
First off, the plot is very interesting. The two main characters are Gretchen (deceased, and whose thoughts we learn about through her notes) and Jamie, her best friend from college. They haven't stayed in touch the last few months, so Jamie isn't totally up to date about what was going on in Gretchen's life just before she died. Gretchen was a best selling author who had written an "Eat, Pray, Love" style b
Clay Stafford
The accidental death of a bestselling author whose mother had been murdered 20 years before. An unfinished manuscript. A stack of notebooks. Tape recordings. And doubt. Buried within the outlines of fiction are the clues to the author’s killer. What story would someone kill (and continue to kill) to keep it from being told. The writing itself is superb and makes it even more a pleasure to read. New York Times notable author Emily Arsenault delivers an exceptional book and brings new meaning to “ ...more
Dec 12, 2012 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Jamie is underemployed, restless and 6 months pregnant. Then her friend Gretchen, author of a successful travelogue/memoir with country undertones, dies after falling down the steps near a library. Her bereaved mother, Linda, asks Jamie to go through Gretchen's notes for her second book and function as a literary executor. Jamie soon finds out that Gretchen's research had led her back to the New Hampshire town of her youth, and into an investigation of her origins. Gretchen had never hidden the ...more
Sara Strand
Aug 03, 2012 Sara Strand rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely thought I would love this book because the premise behind it is intriguing and sounds like you couldn't put it down. Sadly... not the case.
Here's the deal- I really thought I would like Jamie because I feel like she'd be easy to relate to? She's just lost her best friend, she's pregnant, she has what seems like a marriage that maybe isn't bad but more in a rough spot, and that maybe I would see a little of myself in her. As it turns out, I couldn't and I didn't like her. And I real
Aug 27, 2012 Victoria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Similar to In Search of the Rose Notes: A Novel, Arsenault melds two separate formats to complete her third novel. She brings together both the past and the present to create a very engaging whole. In the present storyline, Jamie Madden, heavily pregnant, gathers together the documents, mostly writings of her ex-college roommate and friend, Gretchen, who has recently passed away. Gretchen’s family has asked Jamie to at least attempt to complete Gretchen’s second book that she had been working on ...more
Sep 16, 2012 Patty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Miss Me When I'm Gone
Emily Arsenault

My "in a nutshell" summary...

Hmmm...two friends...somewhat dies suspiciously...the other investigates. 

My thoughts after reading this book...

This was a really fascinating literary mystery.  It is truly the sort of book that I get caught up in and find impossible to put down.  It surrounds two college friends who are now long out of college, married and involved in their own lives.  One is going through a divorce, one is 
preparing for the bir
When I got this book I was very excited: it looked great! It has several different types of chapters: a chapter from Gretchen’s book, chapters about Jamie and her attempts to find out more about Gretchen’s background, and, in a different font, Gretchen’s draft chapters for her new book. This looked like it was going to be a fun read.

But I found it slow and, for the most part, uninteresting. After the first 100 pages I considered giving up but I was just interested enough to keep going. I found t
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I haven’t had a terribly interesting life, so I won’t share too many details. But the highlights include:

• When I was a preschooler and a kindergartner, I had a lazy eye and I was Connecticut’s “Miss Prevent Blindness,” appearing on pamphlets and television urging parents to get their kids’ eyes checked. I wore an eye patch and clutched a blonde doll wearing a similar patch. I imagine it was all r
More about Emily Arsenault...

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“It seems to me there are things we should have talked about. Like, what happens if you think you've found the love of your life, but you notice, whenever you go into the city together, that he walks ahead of you in the subway station, and doesn't look behind for you until after he's gotten on the subway? And what if you find yourself wishing you did not have to tell him to wait for you? What if being with him starts to mean having to say those things..."Honey, what for me?" And you start to resent him making you do that in order to keep him walking by your side?” 9 likes
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