elizabeth

“A miniature bottle lies against the curb. What’s that story about a little bottle? ‘Drink me,’ it said. I can’t remember the rest. Anyway this bottle says macallan whisky and I don’t think it was whisky in the story.”

“I stop and read out the words of a poster pinned in the middle: ‘Cash-machine criminals operate twenty-four hours a day.’ I wonder what a Cashmachine criminal is and how they manage to stay awake for so long.”

“They lay scattered about her so she looked like an old Ophelia who’d mistaken the road for a river.”

One Million Page Princess

Memory is a funny thing. It’s subjective and it’s objective; it’s fleeting but it’s also forever.

Elizabeth is Missing is written from the perspective of Maud, an eighty-two year old woman suffering from Alzheimer’s, in her quest to solve the mysteries of both her missing sister, and her missing friend. Maud might forget about every cup of tea she starts to make, and how many pieces of toast she’s consumed in a day, but nothing will shake her determination to discover the whereabouts of two very important people in her life. As her mind continues to slip, the past and the present melt together into a combination of two very separate timelines. The past being post WW2 where her sister Sukey disappears without a trace, and the present being today, where her best friend Elizabeth seems to have done the same.

While the amalgamation of the two story/time lines can sometimes get confusing, I think this actually adds to the authenticity of Maud’s voice since, duh, she’s just as confused as you are. The author did an amazingly elegant job of really showing the progression of Maud’s illness. In the beginning she just can’t remember when the last time she saw Elizabeth was, and by the end she can’t remember what it is one is supposed to do with food. The mystery itself was intriguing, and I didn’t find the ending obvious in any way, even though it didn’t have a huge twist ending or anything.

I liked this book a lot. I really responded to Maud as a character, and fell in love with her as both a young woman, and as the feisty elderly woman she becomes. Too often we brush off and push aside the thoughts and opinions of our elders, especially when they reach an age of dementia, and frankly I find it heartbreaking. I loved that this book addressed that even if someone doesn’t remember they’ve already bought several cans of peaches every single day that week, that doesn’t mean they don’t know what they’re talking about.

If you’re looking for a mystery that is kind of funny, kind of sad, kind of enlightening and kind of endearing all at the same time, then make sure to check out Elizabeth is Missing at some point this summer. You won’t regret it.

Until next time,

OMPP