Missing Pieces by Laura Pearson
Publisher: Agora Books
Publishing Date: 21st June 2018
Source: Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 277
Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult)
What if the one thing that kept you together was breaking you apart?
All Linda wants to do is sleep. She won’t look at her husband. She can’t stand her daughter. And she doesn’t want to have this baby. Having this baby means moving on, and she just wants to go back to before. Before their family was torn apart, before the blame was placed.
Alienated by their own guilt and struggling to cope, the Sadler family unravels. They grow up, grow apart, never talking about their terrible secret.
That is until Linda’s daughter finds out she’s pregnant. Before she brings another Sadler into the world, Bea needs to know what happened twenty-five years ago. What did they keep from her? What happened that couldn’t be fixed?
A devastating mistake, a lifetime of consequences. How can you repair something broken if pieces are missing?
Linda and Tom have just lost their little daughter Phoebe to a tragic accident. But they still have the other daughter, and there is another baby on its way – so they have a reason to keep going. Tom tries, but Linda submerges in her grief.
Fast forward and the unborn baby is to have a baby of her own. There is a tension between her and her older sister Esme and her father, they’re really not so much in touch – there are too many secrets and lies between them but maybe now is the time to build new bridges?
The book is split into two parts. In the first one we experience what has happened and follow the after – tragedy lives of Linda, Tom, Esme and the little Bea. This part was really heart – wrenching and it touched at all the right heart – strings, it was emotionally wrecking and all the feelings were palpable. The second part takes place 25 years later, and here I had a feeling that it is a different read, to be honest, that it is written by a different person – it just read differently and well, let’s be honest, it wasn’t as gripping and compelling as part one.
The great thing in this book was that it was really easy to relate to the characters, to understand them. I really didn’t want to judge Linda, I’ve never been in her shoes and I pray to God to never be in her shoes – loosing a child is the biggest nightmare of each parent, that’s for sure. However, I couldn’t help but feel annoyed with her – she had another daughter, and later on Bea was born, and yet Linda has chosen to desolate, she didn’t even try to try. It looked like she wanted Bea to disappear, Esme to look after herself – she was for sure no comfort to them, and she didn’t even try, and this is what bothered me so much about her character. That she just gave up. But also her grief, her shame and her rage were so natural to understand. Tom, who has his own burden and guilt to bear, tried his best to help Linda and to provide his daughters with relatively normal childhood – I was in awe how great he was with the girls, and how much and how long he tried. Even with the mistakes he did, I kept my fingers crossed for Tom, as he does his best to keep his family together, to blend together what’s left, to go on somehow, and it was heart – breaking to see that whatever he did, it was not working.And Esme – though Esme was really not to blame, right? Full of guilt and bearing her own burden her whole life, finding herself in an awful position. Bea’s life was like pre-programmed through the loss of Phoebe, by the unspeakable truth, and I can imagine how hard it was to grow up in the shadows of ignorance, of not knowing, and secrets.
It is Laura Pearson’s debut novel and it turned out to be a great read. The author has skills to tell a gripping, intriguing and heart – wrenching story and really has a way with words. She can really deal with feelings and emotions, bringing them all easily on the paper and the family portrait that she has painted in “Missing Pieces” is incredibly realistic. The way she describes grief and pain just gets under your skin and you really experience this all, together with the characters. I, however, quickly guessed what has happened to the middle daughter and the circumstances, and I personally think the book would be even better if it was explained earlier on.
Altogether, “Missing Pieces” was a sad, but not too overwhelmingly depressing, book – and it’s for sure not easy to write such a novel, to find this balance, to not to push this limit of being too depressing, too teary, and the author has really done it in a great way. This was a poignant and heart – wrenching story about regret, about losing hope, and about not giving up, about Missing Pieces – yes! – and how important they are to leave the past behind and to know the truth that affects you as well. A gripping story about how a tragedy can shape lives, emotionally raw tale of depression, grief, secrets and lies, a story about a family damaged by the death of a young daughter, by betrayals, by depression and lies, with characters that were very well layered and with realistic family dynamics. A great debut and I am looking forward to read more from Laura Pearson.
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