The Lost Child – a book review.

Front cover of The Lost Child

Front cover of The Lost Child

I received The Lost Child – A Mother’s Story by Julie Myerson as an early review book from LibaryThing. This will be my first book review. Bear with me as I’m not sure the best format to use.

Summary: Julie is a novelist and historical biographer. She finds a fabulous album of watercolors painted by a young girl in the early 19th Century in England. She is fascinated with the paintings and the artist, whom she discovers died at the age of 21. While researching Mary Yelloly, Julie is dealing with issues with her own child. She and her husband have had to lock their 17 year old son out of their house. This story explores both Julie’s search to find Mary Yelloly and her search for how to come to terms with the trials and tribulations caused by a drug addicted son.

Review: I had read the synopsis of this book on LibraryThing when I requested the opportunity to review it. I also read the summary on the inside flap of the dust jacket. And still I was unprepared for this book to be an autobiography. Not that this is a negative, just that it was unexpected. In reality it is only half an autobiography. The other half of the book is the story Julie weaves as she uncovers more and more details about Mary Yelloly’s life and family.

I think the shock of the nature of the book, even though this was simply cluelessness on my own part, made it difficult for me to get into this book at the beginning. Soon, though, I was caught up in the frustration and horror and love all wrapped together around her feelings for her son. As the mother of a young teenage daughter I could identify with her fears. I know I would struggle in the same ways.

The story of Julie’s discoveries of Mary’s life, and the people she met along her journey is intriguing. She brought to life the passions and day to day events of a family living two centuries earlier. Her search of the relics and relatives of Mary Yelloly was like following a treasure hunt with the life of a young girl as the treasure.

The format of the book jumped back and forth between the story of Mary Yelloly and what was happening in Julie’s own family. I felt this very clearly brought the reader into the disjointed emotional tangle that had become her life. The problem is that the jumping back and forth seemed to take some validity away from each of the story lines. This book, in reality, is two stories intertwined together. Although I understand why they were so intricately mixed, part of me wishes they had been written separately to explore each more fully.

Overall, this book did draw me in. I give it 3 of 5 stars.

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