Elizabeth Is Missing

Elizabeth Is Missing

Book - 2014
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Maud, an aging grandmother, is slowly losing her memory—and her grip on everyday life. Notes fill her pockets and dot the walls of her home, increasingly crucial reminders of the immediate world. Most crucial is the fact that she can't find her only friend—Elizabeth has disappeared: she isn't answering the phone and doesn't seem to be at her house. Maud, convinced Elizabeth is in terrible danger, refuses to forget her even if her frustrated daughter, Helen, her carer, Carla, and the police won't listen and won't help. Armed with an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth desperately needs her help, Maud sets out to find her. And, unexpectedly, her search triggers an old and powerful memory of another unsolved disappearance—that of her sister, Sukey, who vanished more than 50 years ago, shortly after the Second World War. As long-ago memories emerge, Maud begins to uncover forgotten clues to her sister's disappearance and to piece together the mystery that has haunted her family for decades, discovering new momentum in her search for her friend. Could the mystery of Sukey's disappearance hold the key to finding Elizabeth?
Publisher: Toronto : Knopf Canada, 2014.
ISBN: 9780345808301
Branch Call Number: HEALE
Characteristics: 274 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

Maud, an aging grandmother, is slowly losing her memory--and her grip on everyday life. Notes fill her pockets and dot the walls of her home, increasingly crucial reminders of the immediate world. Most crucial is the fact that she can't find her only friend--Elizabeth has disappeared: she isn't ... Read More »

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Sep 13, 2020

As Maud’s Alzeimer’s progresses the book becomes more disjointed and confusing. The mystery of her sister’s disappearance isn’t really solved because I’m guessing that she won’t be able to understand what happened and make any sense of it. For people who are calling this elder abuse, many times it is very difficult for family members to really process how bad things are getting. I had an uncle who could drive to familiar places but really had no idea what he was doing there. We finally had to call a cousin, who lived out of town, to intercede. My aunt refused to believe that there was a problem because he always managed to make it home.

Feb 22, 2020

I absolutely hated this book. I do believe that the narrative captured the distress and confusion of Alzheimer's disease, but also fervently believe that this is a case of elder abuse. Of course if the reader and Maud were not tortured for 300 pages or 11 hours, there would not have been a book. Elizabeth is Maud's friend whom she cannot find in her home. Not until the final pages does Helen, her daughter, tell us / Maud that Elizabeth has had a stroke. She finally takes her to visit her friend. Helen says she has repeatedly told Maud that Elizabeth has had a stroke. Of course Maud has not processed and retained this information. Why didn't Helen write it down for her and post it in 100 places around the house, if she cared so much for her mother's distress?????? Maud can still read!!! Then we have the mystery of the disappearance of Maud's sister during the WWII era. The reason that I say this book is one of elder abuse is that Maud wanders all over London without supervision looking for Sukey. We are supposed to believe that for weeks / months she is found and returned with no harm. Maud needed 24 hour supervision. Are we supposed to believe that it is more loving to let your mother roam the streets in distress than to make certain she does not leave a safe environment????? Helen finally takes her mother to be evaluated by a physician at the end of the book. DUH!!! Did she not know what he would find??? In the end Sukey's body is found. Hooray!! Maud won't remember !!! I found this abuse for the sake of a story reprehensible. I speak as a 71-year-old psychologist. I live every day with the normal memory loss of aging, but it is still frightening to not be able to recall a name or find oneself in a room and not remember why you are there. These are the natural effects of the fact that as we age the movement of short term to long term memory is more difficult and synaptic connections decay. As to finding oneself in a room and not knowing why, this occurs because other thoughts happen and interfere with the intention. Simple rehearsal fixes this problem. ( Or, as is often the case, you return where to started and realize why you went into the kitchen in the first place. ) I know the fear of not living independently, but fervently hope that if I am found wandering the streets of Minneapolis that someone will intervene appropriately!!!! If anyone reads this book and thinks that Maud was taken care of properly / lovingly by her daughter it will be a great shame!!!! Kristi & Abby Tabby

May 27, 2019

Oh, how I loved this book. Maud has Alzheimer's. She remembers very little, and leaves herself notes everywhere. When she goes back to the notes she has no idea what they mean. Most days she doesn't recognize her daughter, every day she buys more tinned peaches - her cupboards are full of them. There is one thing about which Maud is absolutely sure - her friend Elizabeth is missing.

I don't know how Emma Healey wrote this book, which is narrated by a woman whose faculties are fading quickly. To get inside that mind is a great feat of fiction. I love the characters, the mystery that Maud unravels, and the changes in the relationship between mother and daughter as Maud's illness progresses from bad to worse. It's a beautiful story, so full of heart, and it's amusing and upsetting in turn. I recommend this book very much.

Feb 07, 2019

I suspect that those who reviewed this book negatively are either young or in denial.
This is very close to how the world really feels with dementia.
It's a marvelous book.
And it shows that if the person with dementia is not afraid, the disease doesn't have to be awful. You just drift in and out of the reality that others never leave.But the alternate reality might not be horrible.

Sep 01, 2018

When your librarian tells you to read something you should read it. Such a great story. I couldn't put it down. Maud is frustrating but you cannot help but love her.

PimaLib_MaryG Mar 22, 2018

This is an excellent, excellent book. It is really three tales in one - two mysteries and the story of Maud and her increasing disability. First, there is the mystery of the title - what happened to her friend Elizabeth? This mystery brings back memories of the unsolved disappearance of Maud's sister decades ago. Finally, both of these intertwined tales are told through the imperfect narration of Maud, whose dementia increases as the book goes on.

Mar 13, 2018

This story contains not one, but two mysteries -- decades apart. We are inside the mind of Maud who is wondering what has happened to her dear friend Elizabeth. Her mind also vividly remembers the events from 1946 when her sister Sukey disappeared. Clues that Elizabeth turns up connect to that past mystery and also to the one she is currently obsessing over. The plot intricately weaves the two stories together and gives the reader closure. Getting ready to discuss this with a book group later this week. I am anticipating a lively group for this one.

Feb 04, 2018

Couldn't put this one down. It's written from the point of view of a woman who is suffering from dementia, who, somehow, can still pull threads together.

Nov 27, 2017

I hated this book. I could no finish it.

Apr 19, 2017

This book has an intriguing premise. Maud, although suffering from dementia, uses her long term memory to solve a mystery from the past. One suspects that the author is basing the character of Maud on her own grandmother. However, the plot itself is implausible and the first person narrative - ranging from memory loss to complete clarity - also does not work.

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Jan 16, 2017

LILYPILLY thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Jun 24, 2014

jeanie123 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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Jul 07, 2014

When the main character is elderly and has some serious memory loss, it's hard to know which way the story leads -- and that's a good thing in this well-written page turner. Has something happened to Maud's friend, Elizabeth? Or, just as likely, did something happen to Maud's beloved sister, Sukey, 45 years ago?


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