Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Review: Miss Me When I’m Gone by Emily Arsenault
Source: Personal Copy
When Jamie hears that her best friend from college has died, she doesn’t know what to think. Her and Gretchen haven’t been as close lately, and seemed to be at different stages in their life. Gretchen recently divorced , wrote a bestselling memoir chronicling her divorce and her admiration for country music icons like Tammy Wynette. Jamie is still married, struggling to keep her job at the newspaper, and pregnant with her first child. She knew Gretchen wasn’t very fond of children, and they seemed to have less in common. Jamie is shocked to learn that Gretchen’s family wants her to be the literary executer. Gretchen was working on a second book before she fell from the library stairs, her family and publisher are hoping to salvage what she wrote. When Jamie begins looking through her notebooks and files, she uncovers Gretchen’s family secrets, and begins to question what happened really happened at the library the night she fell.
Arsenault has a very unique writing style that I immediately felt drawn to. Miss Me When I’m Gone is not a traditional mystery; it’s not packed with action but more drawn out, filled with twists and turns, which leaves the readers intrigued and left thinking about the circumstances. Readers are given excerpts from Gretchen’s writing which solidifies who Gretchen was as a person. Her second book became much darker and took on a life of its own. Gretchen begins to uncover what happened the night her mother was murdered and who might be her father. Jamie begins to worry that Gretchen might have uncovered too much information, and put herself in danger.
I don’t normally read typical mystery novels, but this one was perfect for me since it wasn’t a typical mystery. I loved the incorporation of the country singers, and how Gretchen wove their stories into her. You certainly don’t have to like country music to enjoy this novel, but the added touch was really interesting, especially for a country music fan. I thought the cast of characters was really great. Gretchen’s death was the focus of the story, but Jamie was really interesting to read about as well. She’s dealing with the death of her friend, uncovering her deepest-darkest secrets, and also pregnant with her first child. She doesn’t want to give up her job and become a stay at home mom, but her job would barely cover the cost of daycare. Her husband is patient, but wants what’s best for Jamie and their child. I highly recommend this one, even for those who don’t normally read mystery.