Missing – Alison Moore: Review & Recommend | ELLIE LOVES

Happy Saturday! Hope everyone is having a nice weekend. Today, I’m talking about Missing by Alison Moore. This review is a bit shorter than usual I’m afraid, because I’m super worn down from being back at work, and having had a busy week generally!

When I picked up this book, I was expecting a thriller. The title, for one, makes it sound thriller-y, and the red cover with a font that depicts writing on a steamed up mirror only reinforces that assumption for me. A quick google shows that this book is primarily categorised as the vague ‘psychological fiction’, though to be honest I still feel as though that’s a bit of a stretch for the ways in which this novel engages with the mystery that is supposed to be the central concept.

When Jessie Noon was younger, her niece, Eleanor, vanished. This disappearance is presumably the eponymous one, though in her middle-age, Jessie finds herself abandoned by her husband. The only note he left was written on the steamed-up glass in the bathroom. While the disappearance of Eleanor is something that the novel refers back to through the use of split chronology, there’s a lack of tension. It didn’t feel as though there was a build-up to something terrible, and I didn’t really get a proper sense of the effect of Eleanor’s disappearance on the family. Throughout the novel are short passages in italics (these from Eleanor’s POV), suggesting she is coming home.

As Jessie starts to receive messages from Eleanor, I expected there to be an exploration of the effects of such a message, but there seemed to be absolutely no emotional reaction that was explored in any depth, which was a really missed opportunity to build some of the absent tension in this book. Similarly, the effect of her disappearance doesn’t really get explored. Aside from some short scenes towards the end of the book that deal with the immediate aftermath of her disappearance, there’s almost nothing. This choice caused the book to lack emotional depth for me, and meant that I really struggled to feel any kind of investment in the part of the storyline concerning Eleanor at all. In parts of the book I actually forgot that the book was meant to be about the girl’s disappearance, and not just about Jessie’s day-to-day life.

As a character, I did find Jessie intriguing. Her inner voice has moments that are very funny, which keeps the book light-hearted despite dealing with what is essentially a string of losses experienced by Jessie. The supporting characters did lack somewhat in development, which was a shame, because they were interesting, and could have been really enjoyable to read (if sometimes unlikeable as people!). The uncertainty around reality in Jessie’s life (is her house haunted?) was an extra addition that made her character more developed, and yet this was also something I felt was not properly explored.

When it comes down to it, this book simply was not long enough for what it was trying to achieve. Some people may dislike this book for not having a resolution but for me, that would be fine. However, by introducing themes and then failing to follow through on their exploration, and by writing in characters who got to have a glimpse at what they could be had they been well-developed, it seems to me that more was needed. It is a shame that the book failed in this sense, because I enjoyed many of the other aspects of it, including Moore’s writing style, but I feel like this book will be fairly easily forgettable for me.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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One thought on “Missing – Alison Moore: Review & Recommend | ELLIE LOVES

  1. […] Missing – Alison Moore. 3 stars.This one let me down a bit, because I had interpreted as a thriller, and it wasn’t really a thriller, just psychological fiction. While this was an enjoyable read, I felt like it wasn’t long enough to really dive deep into its themes or character arcs, which let it down. You can find my full review here. […]

    Liked by 1 person

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