•  Shoe Lane  Reading Group Met To Discuss…

elizabethIn April the lunchtime reading group met to discuss ‘Elizabeth is missing’ by Emma Healey. The main character of the book is eighty two year old Maud Horsham who lives alone, visited by her daughter Helen and looked after by her perverse carer Carla. Carla takes great pleasure in informing Maud about the horrors that happen to the elderly when they become victims of crime. Maud has dementia and is slowly losing her memory and her grip on day to day life, relying on notes to supplement her failing brain. Maud may be confused, forget the names of her children or what she went shopping for, but what she does know and is certain of, is that her best friend Elizabeth is missing. Nobody seems to take her worries seriously and put it down to her dementia. So Maud decides to try and find out what has happened to Elizabeth herself before she can no longer remember who Elizabeth is. The group felt the poignancy of the terror and fear that Maud feels when she begins her search was handled very well by the author, and we agreed that she  really seems to understand the way dementia can affect not only the sufferers life but the lives of family members as well. One of the characters who several of the group thought was especially well written was Maud’s daughter Helen whose frustration at having to constantly repeat things over and over to her mother, mirrors Maud’s own frustration. Even within our small group, most of us had some experience of dementia affecting family or friends. As a reading group book it did make for some good discussions and opinions. Unanimously the group agreed that the writer really got into the mind of a dementia sufferer and was able to convey what we felt it must be like to have this affliction. Also enjoyed in the narrative was the contrast in Maud’s clarity of the past with the frustration and confusion of the present.

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