Missing Pieces by Laura Pearson may seem like a departure from my go-to reads, namely general non-fiction or suspense novels. However, with no shame or embarrassment, I can say that in high school I was the biggest Jodi Picoult fan there ever was. My well-read copies now sit in the bottom of a few boxes, tucked away in a closet at my mom’s house–as is most of my teenage book collection. Missing Pieces felt like a Jodi Picoult novel–in the sense that everything surrounding family, relationships and love, with some traumatic and devastating twist, of course. I could be wrong, but I think that’s pretty high-praise for Pearson’s first novel!
Missing Pieces explores a family trying to pick up the pieces after the devastating loss of one of their daughters, Phoebe. Linda, the mother, is also pregnant with the family’s third daughter and is seen trying to navigate her guilt for losing Phoebe, while trying to find a place in her grief to welcome and love a new daughter. Told in a split-narrative, the novel also cuts to Bea, the third daughter, in adulthood, as she tries to navigate the loss that seemed to fill her childhood and the sister she never knew. Ultimately, readers see how differently grief can manifest, how guilt can impact your life, and how a family moves through their relationships with one another.
Like I mentioned, this was a bit of a departure from the type of books I have been reading in the last few months. However, I immediately requesting it on NetGalley after seeing the author interact with a few #BookBloggers on Twitter. Where some authors only rely on their publisher, with little thought or attention to the masses that read (and review!) their work, Pearson seemed seemed genuinely kind and interested in what bloggers had to say; and, when she mentioned this was her first novel, I was eager to support that and read it! Ultimately, Missing Pieces is devastatingly beautiful. You get characters you empathize with, realistic family and romantic relationships to explore, and an enticing story about how grief and guilt can be long and lingering.
Best binged with: a vodka gimlet–refreshing, but with just enough bite to keep you on your toes.
[I received a digital, advanced reading copy from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.]