I have a lot of time for celebrities and well-known figures encouraging people to read, so Richard and Judy’s Book Club is an idea that I think is really great and I decided I needed to give one of their books a try (check out my next post for a Richard Madeley book review).
As always, possible [SPOILERS] alert
I Do Not Sleep felt like it had great potential. A bit of mystery but grounded in the real-life trauma of a woman’s loss. Reading the blurb had made me genuinely intrigued as to what had happened to her son; what could have happened that made a simple ‘lost at sea’ story be something else? What else could have possibly happened and did that mean her son was still alive?
So yes, the premise was gripping, it had some nice background stories woven in and since I’m a very visual reader, I found the descriptions of the Cornish coast absolutely beautiful. Of course that also meant pathetic fallacy was used in full force throughout, with the tempestuous weather reflecting the mother’s loss but also conviction that there was something more to her son’s disappearance (she refuses to believe he is dead without proof)
I know I have a strong dislike and general cynicism about emotions and how they are portrayed in stories, but this was too much. I wanted to shake Molly out of her blind denial and tell her it’s been five years since she lost her son, she needs to let go and move on before she pushes the rest of her family away (which she accomplishes very well I might add).
Of course she doesn’t listen to me, or her husband, or her other son and new daughter-in-law, who all love her very much. She pursues her motherly instinct that something else happened to her son and I’ll admit, she does eventually find answers. But they aren’t answers that the reader isn’t already anticipating and the great mystery of what really happened to her son, Joey, isn’t really a mystery at all.
A read a review of the book which said, “Intensely emotional and relentlessly suspenseful”. Perhaps as a testament to a mother’s love and the need for closure it is “intensely emotional”. But I was still waiting for some suspense and mystery even on the last line. It did keep me interested but only by its fingertips.