Book: The Love Story of Missy Carmichael
Author: Beth Morrey
Release: April 2020
I might be one of the few who has not yet read Eleanor Oliphant, but I absolutely adored A Man Called Ove, so I was compelled to give Beth Morrey’s new book a go. The Love Story of Missy Carmichael is about an elderly, lonesome woman enduring her hardships and struggles on her own, without purpose or direction, but then finds that friends and companionship help fill her life with meaning again.
I had such high hopes for this book, but I must say, I felt underwhelmed by the story of Missy Carmichael. The first third of the book was about Missy ignoring her issues and generally isolating herself from society, while feeling sorry for herself. The second-third of the book was about her kind of making friends, but still boo-hooing about her lot in life. The last third of the book was the best part. Missy finally became a dynamic character, instead of the dull, flat one we got for the first two-thirds, and I genuinely enjoyed the end.
In general, I found it very difficult to relate to Missy as a character. I understand loneliness and depression can create a life that does not seem worth living, but it was extremely difficult for me to garner any sympathy for Missy Carmichael. Her personality came across as adolescent, rather than that of an 80-year-old woman. It felt almost forced sometimes, as if it were a chore to act so abysmal toward life, and that made it a chore for me to keep reading.
Things I did like: other characters that Missy eventually befriended were dynamic and had so much growth and impact on the story. Like, the story literally could not exist if these characters disappeared. I wouldn’t want to even touch the book if these characters didn’t exist. They were relatable and fun, and they pulled me along through the story and Missy’s struggles. I also liked Missy’s animal companion; I think animal therapy is underrated and so beneficial toward mental health – the author thoughtfully portrayed the relationship between Missy and her furry friend and I really enjoyed watching it play out.
I mentioned that I really enjoyed A Man Called Ove, so why didn’t I like this book as much? I think much of it had to do with the writing style. It was a quick read, but the style in which the story played out felt cumbersome; I couldn’t relate or sympathize with the main character, and I didn’t really care what happened next. Perhaps I’m just not at that point in my life yet, and a reread down the road will present a different opinion. However, if you are also someone who enjoyed Backman’s book or Eleanor Oliphant, definitely give this book a go! Maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
You can check out this review and others over on Goodreads!
*** I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ***