Release Date-July 6th 2017
Genre-Thriller & Mystery
Kindle Edition-304 pages
From a beloved, award-winning writer, the much-anticipated novel about what happens when two families go on a tropical vacation and the children go missing.
When Liv and Nora decide to take their families on a holiday cruise, everyone is thrilled. The ship’s comforts and possibilities seem infinite. The children, two eleven-year-olds, an eight-year-old, and a six-year-old, love the nonstop buffet and the independence they have at the Kids’ Club. But when they all go ashore in beautiful Central America, a series of minor misfortunes leads the families farther and farther from the ship’s safety. One minute the children are there, and the next they’re gone.
What follows is a riveting, revealing story told from the perspectives of the adults and the children, as the once-happy parents now turning on one another and blaming themselves try to recover their children and their lives.
Celebrated for her ability to write vivid, spare, moving fiction, Maile Meloy shows how quickly the life we count on can fall away, and how a crisis changes everyone’s priorities. The fast-paced, gripping plot of Do Not Become Alarmed carries with it an insightful, provocative examination of privilege, race, guilt, envy, the dilemmas of modern parenthood, and the challenge of living up to our own expectations.”
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Do not become alarmed is the first book that I have experienced by Maile Meloy and as a whole, I found it ok.
It wasn’t awful and I did finish it but it failed to grab, falling a bit flat for me, I found myself emotionally uninvested in the characters, in fact, I actually down-right disliked some of them.
So overall this really made it pretty hard for me to connect with the story.
I am actually rather disappointed with this one considering how much I was looking forward to it as the description is what initially pulled me into this, it made “Do Not Be Alarmed” sound so much more than what it is.
First things first this review is going to be a bit spoilery, so fair warning. look away now folks, you have been advised.
and also a trigger warning, (view spoiler)[.there is a rape of a teenager (14). (hide spoiler)] in this tale so avoid if this is an issue for you, it’s not graphic but it’s there all the same.
So the general premise is that Nora and Liv (who are cousins) and there hubby’s, along with their four kids take a cruise and during a ship excursion they go missing along with a couple kids they have met on the holiday.
The story then flits from parents to children, so you really get to see this incident, which is every parent’s worst nightmare, from both sides.
So what worked for me with this, Well the whole scenario is really imaginative and as I said earlier the synopsis itself is a real puller.
You get to see the vast contrast between the lives of our families and the poverty surrounding them while lost in Central America, it’s such an eye-opener in that respect.
Also, some of the inner monologues are fairly amusing, there was one in particular that made me smile when Nora is thinking of Penny.
“Nora recognised this for the humble brag it was and thought she had never known a more slappable child.”
We have all known a child that just rubs us up the wrong way while in their parent’s eyes there such little angels.
actually, I found Penny a right little know it all madam as well so completely got you, Nora.
We get to see everything collapse inwards and disintegrate with all the players then seeming to turn on each other.
It’s a complete car crash as the two once close families fall apart at the seams each blaming the other for this disaster.
Now for the negatives, the characters themselves were an unlikable bunch which made it hard for me to find that initial connection with them, this, in turn, makes it, oh so hard to empathise with their current situation.
Yeah, I felt for them but with a very disconnected vibe.
I also found the kid’s reactions odd,
I’m a mum of five and I know if this sort of thing happened to any of mine they would be totally freaking out I mean major meltdowns and my kids are not drama queens at all, in fact, I would imagine most children would be like this.
The kids in this were so calm and collected it was unreal and a bit scary.
(view spoiler)[.Even Isabella after being raped was so indifferent to what had happened, I myself tried to put her reaction down to shock, but it was not how I would imagine a fourteen-year-old child, upon being violated behaves.. (hide spoiler)]
I also didn’t understand the relevance of Neomi and her uncle it felt like they were just included to show the contrast of wealth and poverty between our characters. overall I found them a pretty pointless addition to this book.
One final gripe was Poor Gunter I really thought at some point during this story we would have revisited him properly, not just assumed his fate he really got a crappy deal in all this.
And I know I said final but I’ve just thought of one more. the ending I didn’t like it at all it seemed so unconnected and abrupt.
Anyway that’s all folks.
So my overall verdict was that I found this was an alright read, It kept me amused for a few hours, but it just didn’t quite do it for me.
Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin UK and The author for supplying me with an advanced reader copy of “Do Not Become Alarmed” this is my own honest unbiased opinion.