Elizabeth is Missing | Emma Healey

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Oh my! A book review?! On this blog?! No?! I know it's been a while and when I began this blog I did apologise for my slow reading and I'm sorry to say, it hasn't improved. Although I think I did read this book slowly on purpose because I liked it so much.

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... 

As soon as I picked up this book and read the blurb I knew this was the type of book for me. It's psychological, emotional and tense, if you're a person that likes a more up-lifting book to read during the night I wouldn't recommend this one, especially when you read until 3 in the morning it can get a little creepy, not like a horror novel or anything but there is definitely underlying eeriness. The plot of this book is very original flitting between the past and the present, I wont go into too much detail because I don't want to create spoilers but this book really isn't what it seems at the beginning, there is a whole lot more to this story. 

What I will say about this book however, is how dementia as a mental illness is portrayed. Healey seems to know her stuff about the actual illness and how it effects the patient, but knowledge on how other people act around the protagonist is very old fashioned. The nurses in the book all don't seem to care about their job and follow the perfect cliche of the strict, impersonal nursing home staff we hear about in the media. When Maud begins to voice her concerns about Elizabeth's disappearance no character in the book listens to her or recognizes why she is so concerned. I spoke to my Mum about this who is an occupation therapist and has also read the book, she says that the events in the book do not portray the support that people with dementia do get which adds to the current stigma of the illness. However I do think, for the drama of the book and the relationships that are portrayed, the lack of understanding in the characters is understandable but still pretty damaging.  

All in all, without its flaws this book is incredibly clever and pulls you in from the first sentence, I am also a fan of a picture in an adult book now and again, and with every chapter of this book you get a little picture. The pictures tend to give you little clues into what happens in the chapters and I just think it's a nice little touch. I love how this book is written, Healey tends to holds back with her writing and lets the reader guess what she means, almost like your in the main protagonist's shoes. I like how the storyline isn't as obvious as it may seem and there are some hidden plot twists that will surprise you. Overall it's a very clever book that really makes you think, you almost take the role of a detective, with it's twists and turns and poignant moments it's a very enjoyable, yet emotional read.

8 moons out of 10 



  1. This sounds like such an interesting read, despite the flaws that you mentioned (cliches make me super uncomfortable too) I love this post so much, I am such a book lover and I love knowing about new books to read! Will definitely be adding this to the list, thank you for the recommendation dear! xxxxx


    1. Aw please do read it, don't let the flaws get in the way,but you have to be aware that they're still there!