Review: Saving Missy by Beth Morrey


Title: Saving Missy

Author: Beth Morrey

Published: January 20th 2020, HarperCollins Australia

Status: Read January 2020 courtesy HarperCollins/Netgalley


My Thoughts:

Saving Missy is a poignant and heartwarming debut novel from Beth Morrey about ageing, loss, friendship, and forgiveness.

Seventy-nine year old Millicent ‘Missy’ Carmichael lives in a large, spartan home in central London. Her husband, Leo, is gone, her son, Alistair, his wife and her beloved grandson, Arthur, have emigrated to Australia, and she hasn’t spoken to her daughter, Melanie, in almost a year. Having devoted her life to her family, she now finds herself alone, and lonely, dwelling on the mistakes of her past, relieved only by a ‘sip’ of sherry.

“Sometimes the loneliness was overpowering. Not just the immediate loneliness of living in a huge house on my own, loved ones far away, but a more abstract, galactic isolation, like a leaking boat bobbing in open water, no anchor or land in sight.“

It’s an awkward encounter at the local park with a warm and friendly women named Sylvie, and Angela, a young, extroverted and opinionated woman with a young son, Otis, that begins to coax a reluctant Missy into the world, and a dog named Bob in need of a home who yanks her into it.

“So here we are: the old biddy, the single mother, the superhero and the adopted mongrel…”

Morrey’s portrait of Missy is well crafted and developed. Initially, Missy comes across as an unpleasant, judgemental, ‘fuddy-duddy’, but it becomes clear that her attitude is a result of her own insecurities, a touch of anxiety and depression, and a guilty secret that has festered for decades. Her reminisces appear to confirm that this has been a life long issue for her, and matters have only worsened as she has aged, and finally left with only her own thoughts for company.

“Perhaps I’d said something at the lunch that she objected to? She was very left-wing. Or perhaps it was something I hadn’t said? I had no witty anecdotes, knew none of the mutual acquaintances they’d discussed, and most of all I was so old, so jaundiced – who would want to be friends with me?”

The author successfully evokes a range of emotions for Missy, from dislike to pity to admiration as Missy begins to confront her past, and her future. Sylvia and Angela are both delightful in their own way, but it’s Bob that comes close to stealing the ‘show’.

“My Bobby, the dog I didn’t want, didn’t own, but who was truly mine in a way that no one else ever had been.”

Though I thought the pace was a little slow during the first half of the novel, and the storyline didn’t really offer any surprises, Saving Missy definitely has its charms.

An uplifting reminder of how vital connection and acceptance are to us all, the benefits of unconditional companionship and love from a pet, and that age is no barrier to enjoying either, Saving Missy is an engaging and thoughtful novel.


Available from HarperCollins Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

Read an Excerpt

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Veronica @ The Burgeoning Bookshelf
    Jan 29, 2020 @ 10:48:47

    I enjoyed this too. It didn’t go the way I was expecting so it was a nice surprise. I’ve passed my copy to my mother to see what she thinks.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. the bookworm
    Jan 30, 2020 @ 00:53:55

    Saving Missy sounds like a good one and I like the last quote about her dog. Fantastic review.

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Ash JennReneeRead
    Jan 30, 2020 @ 06:42:50

    Oh this seems like such a sweet read.

    Ash @ JennReneeRead

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Vicki
    Jan 30, 2020 @ 07:06:42

    This is on my list to read soon. I’m glad to know you enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person


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