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Miss Me When I'm Gone

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  770 ratings  ·  161 reviews
Author Gretchen Waters made a name for herself with her bestseller Tammyland—a memoir about her divorce and her admiration for country-music icons Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton that was praised as a “honky-tonk Eat, Pray, Love.” But her writing career is cut abruptly short when she dies from a fall down a set of stone library steps. It is a tragic accident ...more
Paperback, First edition , 356 pages
Published July 31st 2012 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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 ·  770 ratings  ·  161 reviews

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Lydia Presley
Aug 09, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jul 27, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 31, 2012 rated it liked it

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
nomadreader (Carrie D-L)
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
(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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 23, 2013 rated it liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
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.
Audette Leites
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I always really want to like Emily Arsenault's books- I love the premises, the blurbs sound fantastic - but when I get into them I find myself growing tired of the narrative, the characters, even the story. The constant switching between narratives gets tiresome and overwhelming.

That being said, this is my favorite Emily Arsenault. The country music plot works and is really interesting. It is almost good enough to make me forget the problems I have with the writing style.
Ellen Dark
May 24, 2017 rated it liked it
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.
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery, american
I read a review of one of Emily Arsenault's books (I forget which one) in the New York Times, and the reviewer said that they really liked her writing because they were always so different. It's true. This is my third (I started with #1, The Broken Teaglass, which may still be my favorite), and I'm looking forward to the next one. This one has a country music theme, which is interesting.
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
interesting premise - the book flips back and forth between current day, a book published by the main characters friend and the friend's diary. I enjoyed watching you-tube videos of the singers the friend had "written" about.
Aug 08, 2017 rated it liked it
To be honest, it took me a long time to read this book and it's taken me a long time to review it. It certainly can be said that it didn't grab me. However, the plot was good and the investigation interesting. My biggest criticism was the foolish behaviour of the main character, at the end. Grrr
maria helena
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Sadly, the only thing I liked about this book was the title. I didn't connect with any of the characters and I thought the plot was all over the place. It had some interesting sections but they were few and far apart.

1.5 stars
Jill Byrd
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I feel like I got to read two books since this is a fictional book about an author getting murdered. All the information about Tammy Wynette was really cool. My guilty pleasure is celebrity bios, and this one was all interwoven into a murder mystery.
Jun 21, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Nope nope nope

Too many different points of view. All the writing about the country stars was pointless and tedious. And generally just no interesting
Simply not for me. Someone else my enjoy it. Not me
Katie Pressley
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Holy Cow! What a book, Emily Arsenault is my all time favorite author she is a total genius!
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
just could not get there...
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lovely book.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the mystery but way too much info about country music.
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
This book is thoughtful, suspenseful, and very well written.
Dec 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Read this a long time again and don't remember much except that I liked it and thought it was very clever, especially because of the book within the book.
May 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
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 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
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
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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

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