Book Review: Daughter by Jane Shemilt

**Spoiler alert**

(The second half of this review wpid-wp-1441714218792.jpegwill contain spoilers)

Daughter follows a mother who discovers that her teenage daughter has gone missing when she fails to return home one night. Intriguing? Possibly. The narrative itself jumps between before/during the event and one year after the event. Interesting? Perhaps. As the narrative unfolds hidden truths begin to surface. Its got you now right? Right?


It took me by surprise just how disappointing I found this book. It had all the makings of a good read and although I never found myself invested in the characters I was eager to uncover the mystery of Naomi. Sadly this meant enduring too many overly flowery paragraphs, time jumping that seemed pointless and jarring at times and in depth descriptions of drawing. What does this have to do with Naomi I hear you ask? Nothing, nothing at all and yet a good chunk of the book is preoccupied with it.

There are moments where you are made to feel the emptiness and numbness of losing a child. It shows the fallout that can occur in situations such as these, especially when those closest to it are trying to find somewhere to place their blame. It reflects how we can think we know someone, even someone as close as a child or a partner and be completely wrong.

Here comes the spoilers…

The problem seems to come down to the mother but it comes with absolutely no justification. The story suggests that she is not there enough for her children and husband yet she seems to always be there in the morning for when they wake and she is home in the evening in time to make them dinner. She seems like any other working mum to me but somehow it suggests that because she has a career there is some kind of neglect.

The most baffling part of the novel is the climax…if you can call it that. Naomi seems to have simply runaway and it seems to me from the ending to the book that she just hates her mother. Why else would a daughter run away, bare a child and try everything she possibly can to stay hidden from her mother and family despite the despair it has caused them. My question is why? What was the point in this book? That teenage daughters are untrustworthy? Selfish? That mothers are only good if they know every detail of their children’s lives? That children would share everything with their mother if only she stays home at all times?

I’ll be honest I would have been far more satisfied if it had turned out that Naomi had been murdered or at least kidnapped! The book fooled me in to thinking that it would be a thriller and it was not. Boring yes, thrilling no. Maybe the book would have been more bearable had Naomi just left a note and run away. The story would probably still have played out in the same way but without the promise of excitement that it certainly did not deliver.



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