(6/3/2017) Book Review: Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

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 unrecognisable – 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 . . .

I loved this book so much! And not because it was amazingly written, or the plot was so gripping, or something like that.

It was a good book. I was gripped throughout, and Healey created a story that jumped coherently backwards and forwards, creating a timeline that, considering it involved a character with dementia, was incredibly easy to follow.

But it’s Maud, said character with dementia, who made this novel for me. I just felt for her so much.

For the past couple of years, my grandma has been suffering from dementia and has been slowly declining in her health, and my grandad was gradually been following. And it can be frustrating, to sit with them, and have them ask the same thing over and over and over and over again. And you repeat yourself over and over again. And it’s worse when they’re agitated or upset or worried, and they get in what we call a ‘twirl’. Where it’s an endless cycle of confusion and questioning, and it must be so frustrating for them, but also isolating and terrifying.

So I sympathised with Helen, her daughter. I know it can be hard, and you lose your patience, then you feel guilty. But I felt immense sympathy for Maud too, because I felt the portrayal of an elderly lady with dementia was super accurate, in her actions and behaviour, but also her interactions with other people.

Overall, I thought this was a really enjoyable read that I powered through in a few sittings, and I think that was down to the complex and relatable nature of Maud. A powerful insight into the lives of dementia sufferers and their closest friends and family who suffer alongside them. A brilliant read which I fully recommend!



One thought on “(6/3/2017) Book Review: Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

  1. I love books that portray disabilities well, with all its nuance and complexities — this sounds fascinating. I don’t have much personal experience with dementia, but it’s terrifying to lose your mind like that. Added to my read list!


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