Monday, 15 February 2016


The subject of Alzheimer's suddenly seems to have become popular and features in books and films. It put in an appearance in Ann Tyler's 'Spool of Blue Thread' and is the main theme in Emma Healey's, 'Elizabeth is Missing.' The book has a prologue, the opening sentence of which is

'Maud? Was I boring you so much that you'd rather stand out in the dark?'

It was Maud being addressed and not me, but actually, yes, as the book progressed I was bored. It must be difficult to create a narrator with memory problems and still keep the dialogue sharp, I found the blanks and repetitions tedious and ultimately annoying.

It is Londoner Emma Healey's first book.
Here's the first page. Would it tempt you to keep on reading?
The next book for discussion at our book club later this month is another first novel, this one by an American,  Matthew Thomas. Once again we are dealing with Alzheimer's. I'm half way through it and finding it upsetting. If it were not on our book list I wouldn't be reading this book. (But that's precisely why I'm in a book club - to be taken out of my comfort zone.)  
The opening page would never have attracted to me to the book because it seems such a cliche of an Irish family. 

This book also has a prologue.  I found it disturbing.

His father was watching the line in the water. The boy caught a frog and stuck a hook in its stomach to see what it would look like going through. Slick guts clung to the hook, and a queasy guilt grabbed him.

I still haven't worked out the relationship of the prologue to the main body of the story but you could describe me as hooked!
Joining Bibliophile by the Sea for her Tuesday Intros.


  1. Alzheimer is not an easy subject to read about. We all fear it as we age and I would rather hide my head in the sand, than read a disturbing story about what could be my fate.

  2. I'd read the Emma Healey book and would have to be in the mood for the second, more serious novel.

  3. I think the Alzheimer's books are more prevalent now because so many in the 'baby boomer' generation are dealing with this issue among their own parents or other family members. It's a hard thing to read about and certainly a harder thing to go through. Very tough subject to do well and make it appealing through the fear it generates.

    Both of these books are on my list to read at some point. I will say that if anyone is interested in a well-crafted book that includes Alzheimer's, I always recommend STILL ALICE. It is very accurate, at least in my experience (both parents were afflicted). Good luck and yes, that's why we like book groups right? Pushing us out of our comfort zone. :-)

  4. I'm of two minds when it comes to book clubs. Yes, they open you to new experiences. Those can be rewarding or (as you are finding) annoying, unsettling or boring. It's then that I think "being a grown-up means you don't have to read what you don't want to read". This has even helped me put away a book I may have slogged through but just couldn't finish.

    The real upside to book clubs is the camaraderie and sharing of ideas, even the idea you gave up on the book!

  5. I read both of these books, and loved Elizabeth is Missing. I felt so much empathy for her...and yes, I can see how an "unreliable narrator" can make the story more complicated...but I found myself immersed in this character.

    I didn't like We Are Not Ourselves as much, and it was too long! lol

    Here's mine: “THE SHADOW YEAR”

  6. I am not familiar with Elizabeth Is Missing although I do have We Are Not Ourselves which I haven't been brave enough to read because it is so long! :)

  7. I'm sorry Elizabeth is Missing turned out not to be so great. It looks like it could have been a fun read. Girl Who Reads

  8. I haven't read Elizabeth is Missing. My book group just met to discuss We Are Not Ourselves. I actually enjoyed it though, as I wrote in a post, it was a difficult read. It hit a little too close to home, too soon. My fellow book group members, who finished it had mixed feelings. I look forward to hearing your opinion. Have a fabulous week.