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Elizabeth Is Missing
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2016 Book of the Month > March 2016 Elizabeth is Missing

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message 1: by Val (last edited Mar 01, 2016 01:11AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Val Our March book is Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey.
The narrator, Maud, is a woman suffering from a form of senile dementia and the Elizabeth of the title is her friend. Maud is a very unreliable narrator. She is a very different amateur detective to Miss Marple!
I thought this was a sensitive portrayal of the problems of ageing, but some readers found it frustrating. I hope everyone at least gives it a go.

Emma Healey's website:

Some reviews:

There is also a reading group guide, it contains some spoilers:
(I don't think I will be using their questions, but they do have some points to consider.)

Tasha I'll be reading it and a, looking forward to seeing what I think about it.

Tasha I LOVE looking at all the covers for this book in the different countries. How fun!

Tasha I'll be starting this one in a cople of days.

Penny | 680 comments Mod
I've read this one! and am actually able to post about it inbetween bouts of chemo!
I thought this was wonderful - so careful and real in its depiction of Maud. So interesting how the flashes of lucidity pierce the fog of the dementia. What do you all think of Ellisabeth? and her family?

Diane I've only started recently to read it.
Chemo? I'm so sorry to hear that and will include you in my prayers.

Penny | 680 comments Mod

Penny (Literary Hoarders) (pennyliteraryhoarders) | 33 comments I listened to this one in audio and it was wonderful. I think the audio narration really went a long way to sort through the scattered thoughts of Elizabeth - I've heard some readers were frustrated with it -- and possibly? the narration (which is done so well by Anna Bentinck) helps with it because I just loved this story.

message 9: by Tasha (last edited Mar 16, 2016 04:35AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tasha I'm reading it now and am hooked. I'm enjoying the MC's voice although it's so sad to see someone in that state. I can't even begin to imagine, it's scary.

I'm up to Ch 9. I'm enjoying the parallel story of the MC when she was younger as well. (view spoiler)

It's great writing as well.

Sending positive thoughts out to you, Penny.

message 10: by Diane (last edited Mar 16, 2016 07:22AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Diane This is difficult for me to read this because a friend of mine is going through this right now with her husband. His dementia has progressed to the point where he can neither understand anything spoken nor speak anything but gibberish. Fortunately, he is still gentle and she can even leave the house. she is able to just sit him down in front of the tv and he will be still sitting there when she returns.
The book is well written however sad and I'm intrigued about Maud's sister. It's too early to tell if there is a mystery about Elizabeth's fate. I must continue.

message 11: by Val (new) - rated it 4 stars

Val It is great to hear from you whenever you feel up to it Penny. We are all thinking of you.

Elizabeth's son comes across as unsympathetic at first. (Does he have something to hide? Why won't he say where Elizabeth is? Why is he so annoyed with Maud for asking?) We are getting all this through the filter of Maud's faulty memory however, so the 'true' situation may be quite different. (It does become clear later, but I am not going to put any spoilers.)

My Dad had a form of vascular dementia which meant his short-term memory was very poor and the description of Maud's situation feels realistic. (He did not get as bad as your friend's husband Diane, but might have done eventually.)

Tasha I finished this today. I read and did audio on this one. I enjoyed the reading better. The story itself was a good one, I appreciated the parallels. It's a difficult story though as we all probably know of those who have suffered dementia/alzheimer's. I especially appreciated the POV coming from Maud. It's heartbreaking as well.

Overall, I enjoyed the writing and the story. I gave it 4*.

Diane Val wrote: "It is great to hear from you whenever you feel up to it Penny. We are all thinking of you.

Elizabeth's son comes across as unsympathetic at first. (Does he have something to hide? Why won't he say..."

I thought him horrible to the end. He was still a grubbing, mean person or did I miss something? Now Maud's granddaughter, everybody should have one like her. She should be standard issue. What a lovely kind girl.

message 14: by Jessica (last edited Mar 31, 2016 06:55PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jessica Haider (jessicahaider) | 155 comments Mod
I just finished this book about 15 minutes ago and I quite enjoyed it. I've read quite a few novels with an unreliable narrator in the past year. Maud made me sad, but at least she found what she was looking for eventually, even if she doesn't really remember it.

Elizabeth's son sounded like a lout. I mean quite cruel to Maud and her daughter.

message 15: by Val (last edited Apr 01, 2016 01:55AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Val He is not sympathetic and understanding towards Maud and her daughter I agree, but he is probably fairly typical though. Not everyone has as much patience with elderly dementia sufferers as we might like and Maud turning up and pestering him has been going on for some time, so he is fed up with it. He has his own elderly mother to worry about.

message 16: by Val (new) - rated it 4 stars

Val What did you think of the Sukey storyline?
Why didn't Maud investigate earlier, before she had dementia?

Diane Val wrote: "What did you think of the Sukey storyline?
Why didn't Maud investigate earlier, before she had dementia?"

I wondered about that also but then Maud didn't find the compact cover earlier. But then why didn't she, or anyone find the compact cover earlier?

message 18: by Val (new) - rated it 4 stars

Val I think the Sukey story is there to show that Maud's worries about Elizabeth being missing do have some basis and that we should not dismiss someone's concerns just because they have dementia and they don't seem to be making sense.
I also don't think the Sukey story was thought through sufficiently, it is a bit weak as a major plot strand.

Diane Maud's dementia portrayal was frightening though and the book worth reading for that alone. The granddaughter was such a lovely teen to care for her gran. Most teens, me included, would have been mortified to meet their bedraggled, confused gran on the street and in front of their friends.
May none of us go through dementia.

message 20: by Val (new) - rated it 4 stars

Val Diane wrote: "Maud's dementia portrayal was frightening though and the book worth reading for that alone. "
I agree.

Cally | 1 comments I loved this book. Whilst it felt repetitive it gave me the same sad repetitive nature of Maud's dementia. I felt so similar to Maud's daughter as it hit some resonating tones whilst dealing with my ailing father. The irritation, the frustration and the need to be a parent to your own parent is a hard place to be.

message 22: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue I read this soon after Still Alice and thought they both dealt with the subject very sensitively and were good reads, even if it was scary to think that you never know what's behind the corner.

Penny | 680 comments Mod
I took a long time to 'recover' from reading Still Alice. Although Elizabeth is Missing really shows dementia for me Still Alice was almost excruciating as you took each step of loss of her faculties with her as she was taking it, while Elizabeth is already in the process of dementia. For ages after if I forgot something I'd have a moment of panic thinking it was the start of dementia - after all I don't know how many 'senior moments' are normal!

message 24: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Penny, Lisa Genova follow up book Inside the O'Briens is absolutely heart breaking dealing with Huntingtons but well worth a read. Kept thinking of Arlo Guthrie.

Penny | 680 comments Mod
thanks for recomendation Sue - had to google Guthrie as I had never heard of him.

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