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The Lost Child: A Mother's Story

3.14  ·  Rating Details ·  215 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
For readers of Beautiful Boy and Hurry Down Sunshine, a deeply personal and moving account of two lost children separated by two centuries.
While researching her next book, Julie Myerson finds herself in a graveyard, looking for traces of a young woman who died nearly two centuries before. As a child in Regency England, Mary Yelloly painted an exquisite album of watercolors
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Bloomsbury USA (first published January 1st 2009)
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May 20, 2013 Kathryn marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book from First Reads! I was intrigued by the cover and even more so my the book description. I can't wait to get it and to read it!
Dec 22, 2009 Sophie rated it it was ok
The following is based on a FirstReads win (an advance reading copy).

Myerson's The Lost Child A Mother's Story is actually two stories: her historical research into the (short) life of Mary Yelloly of the 1800s, and her and her family's struggle with their oldest son and his destructive drug addiction. The narrative includes the process of researching Mary, as well as what she finds (including excerpts from diaries and letters), and other stories from the author's young life as she relates them
Christina Zawadiwsky
Sep 29, 2010 Christina Zawadiwsky rated it it was amazing
I won this book from Goodreads, and here is my review:

The Lost Child, A Mother's Story, a memoir by Julie Myerson, released August 2009 by Bloomsbury USA, 328 pages.

"You can make your babies and you can love them with every single cell of your being, but you can't make them safe, you can't in the end choose how their lives turn out." Reading the memoir The Lost Child by Julie Myerson is heartbreaking, and, as you can guess, Julie's son's life turns out not as she expected but instead it became a
Nov 04, 2009 Tabitha rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I didn't think, during the first half of this book, that I would end up saying I liked least not without lying. I really wasn't into it until about halfway through, and even then, it was a difficult read. But now that I've finished it, and I've seen how it all comes together, I feel that calm, satisfied feeling of reading a book that I don't regret reading.

The Lost Child is a book I never would have given a second thought, except that I won it in a giveaway and didn't have much choice. M
May 27, 2013 Coleen rated it really liked it
Two seemingly very different true-to-life stories woven together into one -- that's the gist of Myerson's The Lost Child. Did she pull it off smoothly? For the most part, yes, I think so. The writing style is a little different -- reminiscent in my mind to James Frey -- but I kind of liked that about this book. I felt like she nailed it down as far as expressing a mother's feelings of love & helplessness in dealing with her son's drug addiction & there were times I really ached for her. ...more
Jan 08, 2010 Laura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, history
A profoundly moving and affecting book! The author perfectly captures the intense joy of discovery that awaits the social historian uncovering hitherto unseen documents and artifacts. Interwoven between this story of an early 19th century English family cruelly decimated by illness is the tale of her own personal mothering trauma as her teenaged son succumbs to drug addiction.

Myerson skillfully interweaves the two stories, and each is heightened by contrast to the other. She has a true gift for
Oct 01, 2009 Anderse rated it did not like it
I am stopping reading this about 1/2 way through. It has an annoying lack of cohesion, quotation marks or any basis in reality. Her son gets violent because he's a pot addict? On what planet is this pot from?

Mostly I'm annoyed with this book because it's really much more about her research into a Regency era young woman's life. This is seemingly wholly unconnected to her family problems at least here at the halfway point in the book.
Alison Hardtmann
Dec 09, 2016 Alison Hardtmann rated it liked it
Shelves: read-but-unowned
This tells the story of a mother whose son stops going to school, who becomes a different person. It takes the parents months to realize that more is going on than just teenagerhood, that their previously happy, well-adjusted son has become a drug addict. Then there's the longer stretch where they discover that love and support aren't going to help him, and finally the point, after he's stolen and lied and intimidated and hit her, that he has to leave for the sake of the remaining family ...more
Sep 13, 2009 Robin rated it it was amazing
This is my first win in the Advance Copy Giveaways and I was very excited to receive it in the mail. It was a compelling read for me. My ex-husband was in the US Air Force and was stationed at RAF Upper Heyford in England back in the 70's. I gave birth to my two youngest children at the John Radcliffe Maternity Hospital in Oxford. This English author took me back to when I lived in Brill. We were the only Americans in the tiny town. I took the double decker bus on Tuesdays to the Thames Market. ...more
Nov 08, 2010 Geekdgirl rated it it was ok
I received this after entering the first reads on Goodreads.

I have to say that the potential for 2 compelling stories were contained in this book. It can be debated whether the stories were compelling in and of themselves or if the writing style interfered with creating the full impact.

The author is writing about a girl who died in the 1800's. A book of watercolors begins her journey into the past in order to discover the path the girl walked in her short life. There are present mysteries explor
Nov 07, 2010 Janele rated it really liked it
"The carriage is pulled by two drenched old horses that have seen better days, whipped b y a tired fat man in a scratchy woolen coat-a man who should not have had ale before he set out from Ipswich-windy, sweaty, drink-stained, trying without success to swallow his burps. The wheels squeak and bump, slamming hard over dirt and shale...." What a great beginning to actually 3 stories in one. First the story of Mary Yelloly, the child artist. Trying to find her story and to understand the person ...more
Oct 07, 2010 Sibyl rated it it was ok
I found this book curiously lacking in insight.

As many critics have already remarked, the sections in which the author describes her attempts to find out more about the water colour painter Mary Yelloly are rather laboured. Although she strains to make the artist come alive Mary remains a slight, elusive and really rather uninteresting figure.

In writing about her unnamed male child - who is heavily dependent on cannabis - Julie Myerson is too engaged to be able to stand back and narrate from any
Teri Hand
Oct 01, 2009 Teri Hand rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 14, 2009 Jen rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Overall I did like the book. When I had read the synopsis it sounded very intersting, but I have to agree with Julie's son in the Afterword that I was not very interested in the Mary Yelloly part of the story. I feel it was important for it to be there because it was what Julie was going through at the time and the two stories did intertwine for her. Parts of the history were certainly interesting and the descriptions Julie gave were amazing; at times I felt like I was there with her reading ...more
Nov 01, 2009 Emily rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
Is it out of fashion to use quotation marks in books now? It seems that i've been reading a lot of books lately where the auther chooses not to use them. In the case of this book, it got really confusing at times. She writes the book to a historical character (perhaps real but i've never heard of Mary Yelloly) so when she is actually talking to someone else or to Mary it's sometimes hard to tell. But it is also about her son and their problems, her father's issues, and random bits of Yelloly ...more
Oct 30, 2009 Tara rated it liked it
This was a copy from the First Reads program. Overall I liked the book. I was not interested in the Mary Yelloly story. I felt that part could have been left out of the book entirely. I did like the writing style, I found it easy to read. The secondary story was very compelling. I found the author's challenge with her son very realistic. I felt her honest descriptions and retelling of her story were true to how she must have been feeling. I can only imagine being in her situation as a mother and ...more
Feb 10, 2010 Liz rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those dealing with addiction or know someone who is
Recommended to Liz by: goodreads
The Lost Child is a book by Julie, a mother, who suffers daily physically and emotionally of her lost boy. A boy lost to the addiction of drugs. She struggles with giving him tough love or just enabling him. Also during this time she is researching for this book on the story about Mary Yelloly's short life in the 1820's and 1830's.

Julie's most valuable lesson from writing this book and coming to terms with her life is as follows (which is taken from her acknowledgements): "that you can make you
Apr 24, 2010 Marg rated it really liked it
I read this book before I knew of Myerson as an established author and columnist and it was only after reading the story that I googled her and became bombarded with all the controversy surrounding the fact that she has written about her family repeatedly both in her books and in a weekly column on childcare in the Guardian. It made me rethink my original opinion that it was a moving account of her boy's journey into drugs and an interesting biography about a Regency girl who, in her short life, ...more
Miko Lee
Aug 31, 2010 Miko Lee rated it it was ok
Wow this book was fascinating. A painful memoir by British writer who wove together her personal painful childhood, her teenage son's drug addition and the story of an obscure 19th century artist. I was less satisfied with the latter part of the story, thus my low star rating. However the story of her son's struggle with drugs, and how the family deals with this was fascinating. Goes right up there with "Beautiful Boy" and "Tweak". Interesting that all of these personal stories with drug ...more
Dec 02, 2009 Heather rated it liked it
Recommended to Heather by: Goodreads First Reads
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book as a Goodreads First Read winner, which always excites me! The book is actually two stories, it seems. The author writes about a young lady that grew up and died at a young age in the 1800's, and also writes about her drug addicted son. Throughout the entire book, I kept looking for a connection. The parts about her son were very heart-wrenching and interesting. The parts about the Yelloly family were okay. I did find it interesting that instead of a "story" about Mary ...more
Hana Nur
Sep 24, 2014 Hana Nur rated it did not like it
I can't keep focus while reading the book. First of all, the subject is not interesting to me. The writing style is also almost dreamy, no quotation marks to show that people were speaking. It gets you confused sometimes, making it harder to focus. Then, the chapters were too long. Only 9 chapters in 315 pages. The writing is also not very well-organized, no real separation or indication of the next scene. Take note that there were three stories in the book, being told not in any chronological ...more
Nov 02, 2009 Nicole rated it it was ok
Shelves: own, first-reads, 2009
It's always a good idea to read a book that you wouldn't usually, under normal circumstances, read. It gives you a chance to expand your horizons, but this book was so far out of my comfort zone, that I could not even attempt to enjoy it. There were parts that were semi-interesting, her struggles with her drug-addicted son, which reminded me a lot of other novels I've read about drug addiction. Then there were parts that were so completely uninteresting, that at times I really wanted to stop ...more
Nov 19, 2010 Drema rated it really liked it
The Lost Child: A Mother's Story is a memior. At the beginning I couldn't quite get interested, but towards the end there wasn't anything someone could do to get my nose out of this book.

Julie is a happily married woman with three kids. She is trying to write a novel about Mary Yelloly, and at the same time trying to cope with the fact that her son is becomming a drug addict. She starts finding more and more things out about Mary and is getting farther away from her own son, so she thinks. She
Mar 04, 2010 Lauren rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
This book reminds me a lot of Beautiful Boy. The issues she goes through with her son, wanting him home so she knows he's safe, not wanting him there because he's terrorizing them as a family...are all too real. Her struggle to figure out what is right for everyone in the family is heart-wrenching. Many other reviewers seemed to not enjoy the Mary Yelloly sections of the book; I on the other hand, thought they leant beautifully to the rest of the "true" story going on. It showed how much the ...more
Dec 24, 2009 Elizabeth rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2009
Full disclosure: This was an advanced reader's copy that I obtained through the First Reads program. My first, actually (and probably my last, considering what I'm about to say).

The stories of Mary Yelloly, consumptive watercolorist, and the author's son, destructive drug addict, simply did not belong together. While I am sympathetic to what the author was going through while trying to write this book, real life does not always make for the best story. At some point, someone needed to take out a
Nov 16, 2009 Videoclimber(AKA)MTsLilSis rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 05, 2009 Susan rated it liked it
While I was looking very forward to reading this book, I was overall slightly disappointed. The author dovetails a story she is writing about a girl in the 1830's with that of her addicted son. While I found both stories more or less interesting, the dovetailing of the stories left a lot to be desired. In one paragraph you would be relating to the young girl, and suddenly in the next you would be reading about this cannabis addicted young man and his dysfunctional family. I felt that book ...more
May 06, 2011 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, There are three interwoven strands. Julie Myerson is researching and writing the family history of young Mary Yelloly, who lost her life to consumption at the age of 21 in the 1830. At the same time she (and the rest of her family) are going through a private hell as her youngest son becomes addicted to cannibis and increasing difficult to live with. And woven through these two stories she recounts how her father rejected her when she was a teenager. I loved the way she was ...more
Nov 17, 2009 Amber rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-recommended
I won this book in the givaways. I was excited to get it when I entered to win it. The peak sounded inticing.

I attempted to read about 75 pages into it, before I just couldn't waste my time anymore. I could not follow the way the author was writing. I didn't know if she was talking, if she was remembering, or who she was talking about. There was no flow to this book and it was incredibly frustrating. Not to mention I saw no connection between the girl from the past and her son. I saw no inticin
Jan 16, 2016 V rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting juxtaposition of the author's quest to learn more about the Yelloly family that lived in the 19th century and the author's inability to deal constructively with her teenage son's addiction to skunk (a kind of chemically engineered and very dangerous marijuana). The jump-around style of her writing got a little much about two thirds of the way through and I put the book down for a month but all in all, I finished it and consider it time well spent. I might recommend it to those who ...more
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Julie Myerson is the author of nine novels, including the internationally bestselling Something Might Happen, and three works of nonfiction. As a critic and columnist, she has written for many newspapers including The Guardian, Financial Times, Harper’s Bazaar, and the New York Times.
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