A book within a book within a book…
A reporter asking questions about a reporter asking questions…
Sounds like one of those Russian nesting dolls, doesn’t it? At the very least, it sounds like confusing reading.
But Emily Arsenault, author of Miss Me When I’m Gone, makes it work. The book is an engaging, fast paced mystery about Gretchen Waters, a writer who dies “accidentally” while on a book tour, her very pregnant friend, Jamie, who becomes both literary executor and detective, and the series of strange parallels that seem to haunt both of them. It’s also about country music. Gretchen’s book Tammyland is a memoir based on Gretchen’s divorce as seen through the eyes of her favorite country music. And she dies while working on her second book, which has turned out to be an investigative book about her own mother’s mysterious death, 20 years before.
I know – another nesting doll.
Suddenly, the circumstances surrounding Gretchen’s death become sinister, Jamie finds herself in peril, and before you know it, the nesting dolls have been upended and are rolling all around the room.
Miss Me When I’m Gone is a fun, entertaining read, and Arsenault deftly juggles all these story lines right until the very end. I enjoyed the way she wove classic country music songs and performers into the story via Tammyland excerpts (the book within a book part I mentioned). Jamie’s ambivalence about her pregnancy was a little hard to stomach at times, and her growing obsession with Gretchen’s death (when the pair hadn’t been terribly close for some time) was a bit of a stretch.
All in all, Miss Me When I’m Gone is the kind of book that’s perfect to take on that last weekend at the beach or to settle in with while you’re waiting to pick the kids up from their first days of school. You’ll get caught up in the story right away, and time will fly.
Thanks to TLC Tours for the opportunity to read this book.