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Saving Missy: 2020's most astonishing debut…
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Saving Missy: 2020's most astonishing debut (edition 2020)

by Beth Morrey (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2542591,886 (3.91)7
For readers of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and A Man Called Ove, a life-affirming, deeply moving "coming-of-old" story, a celebration of how ordinary days are made extraordinary through friendship, family, and the power of forgiving yourself--at any age. "At a time when people are having to isolate, [this novel is] a balm, offering an expansive sense of love and possibility at a time when the main characters feel like those chances are gone." --Christian Science Monitor The world has changed around seventy-nine-year-old librarian Millicent Carmichael, aka Missy. Though quick to admit that she often found her roles as a housewife and mother less than satisfying, Missy once led a bustling life driven by two children, an accomplished and celebrated husband, and a Classics degree from Cambridge. Now her husband is gone, her daughter is estranged after a shattering argument, and her son has moved to his wife's native Australia, taking Missy's beloved only grandchild half-a-world away. She spends her days sipping sherry, avoiding people, and rattling around in her oversized, under-decorated house waiting for...what exactly? The last thing Missy expects is for two perfect strangers and one spirited dog named Bob to break through her prickly exterior and show Missy just how much love she still has to give. In short order, Missy finds herself in the jarring embrace of an eclectic community that simply won't take no for an answer--including a rambunctious mutt-on-loan whose unconditional love gives Missy a reason to re-enter the world one muddy paw print at a time. Filled with wry laughter and deep insights, The Love Story of Missy Carmichael is a coming-of-old story that shows us it's never too late to forgive yourself and, just as important, it's never too late to love.… (more)
Member:libaries75
Title:Saving Missy: 2020's most astonishing debut
Authors:Beth Morrey (Author)
Info:HarperCollins (2020), 384 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey

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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
What a lovely read!! Millicent "Missy" Carmichael was many things when she was younger, a mother of two children, a lovely home to keep in order, and a highly creative husband who is an professor and a writer of many books.

Now, she is older, much older. As she turns 80, she looks back at the previous year when she was very lonely, hurt by a misunderstanding with her daughter, a son who has a wife and son and while she lives in England, he lives in Australia, and the losses that ocurred.

Missy's life is forever changed, when while walking in the park, she develops a friendship of a younger woman who is esoteric and highly unorganized, and who suddenly tells Missy she needs someone to take care of a dog, Missy accepts the dog and is no longer lonely.

Throughout her 79th year, she collects friends, works a bit at a local library, is happy when a designer friend removes items from the large attic, and brings them down to the living spaces, making them light and homey, and ruminates a lot regarding her relationship with her previous husband Leo.

Now that Leo is no longer with her, she is obsessive regarding nasty words said, words that should have been said, and their relationship of two very different people, who in the end discover while there wasn't fireworks, there was a steady, sure relationship.

While there seems to be a bit of rambling in the book, the author pulls it together, and this first work, is a beautiful book!

Four Stars ( )
  Whisper1 | Dec 7, 2022 |

'Saving Missy' is a feel-good book that has some great insights into being old, some well-drawn characters, and a way of telling Missy's story that creates suspense about what will happen next and deepens understanding with every revelation about Missy's past.

It's full of closely observed details of what it is like to be old and lonely and set in your ways. It shows how small your life can become and how hard that is to change. It understands that your past is important, it has shaped who you are, but it can't sustain you forever. Even for those of us who are naturally solitary, loneliness is a predator that feeds on your self-confidence and impedes your joy.

I liked the writing. The opening paragraphs of the book won me over not only because they resonated as being true but because they got that truth across with such a light touch. Here they are:

It was bitterly cold, the day of the fish-stunning. So bitter that I nearly didn’t go to watch. Lying in bed that morning, gazing at the wall since the early hours, I’d never felt more ancient, nor more apathetic. So why, in the end, did I roll over and ease those shrivelled feet of mine into my new sheepskin slippers? A vague curiosity, maybe – one had to clutch on to that last vestige of an enquiring mind, stop it slipping away.

Still in my dressing gown, I shuffled about the kitchen making tea and looking at my emails to see if there were any from Alistair. Well, my son was busy, no doubt, with his fieldwork. Those slippers he bought me for Christmas were cosy in the morning chill. There was a message from my daughter Melanie but it was only to tell me about a documentary she thought I might like. She often mistook her father’s tastes for mine. I ate dry toast and brooded over my last conversation with her and for a second bristles of shame itched at the back of my neck. It felt easier to ignore it, so instead I read the newspapers online and saw that David Bowie had died.

At my age, reading obituaries is a generational hazard, contemporaries dropping off, one by one; each announcement an empty chamber in my own little revolver. Morrey, Beth (2020-02-05T22:58:59). Saving Missy: The Sunday Times bestseller and the most heartwarming debut fiction novel of 2021. HarperCollins Publishers. Kindle Edition.



The thing I found myself less comfortable with was the purposefully uplifting nature of the book. It had about it the feeling of a romance written with a happily ever after ending in mind. Missy faced difficulties and experienced fear and grief and anger and regret, none of which was sugar-coated, but, as the title suggested, in the end, she was 'saved', not, in the traditional romance way. by a handsome age-appropriate male entering her life but by the friendship of two women, the love of a dog and the kindness of strangers. And that's the part that kept pushing me out of the story. I'd like the world to work that way and I was genuinely pleased for Missy but I couldn't make myself believe it. It seemed to me that there must have been a fairy godmother hovering somewhere off-camera, granting Missy's wishes.

Suspension of disbelief is a necessary part of reading fiction. 'Saving Missy' put my ability to suspend disbelief under significant strain. That's no criticism of Beth Morray's writing. I think it tells me something about myself that I can easily suspend disbelief to accept the existence of werewolves, of faster-than-light space travel and of detectives with an uncanny ability to live in the mind of a psychopathic serial killer, but I struggle to accept good things happening to an elderly woman because the people around her are nice. I think part of my problem was that the people and the situations were ones that I recognised but the outcomes bordered on winning the lottery - twice.

Even with its fairytale trappings, I enjoyed 'Saving Missy' and I'm looking forward to reading Beth Morray's second novel, 'Em and Me' when it comes out in a few days time.
( )
1 vote MikeFinnFiction | Feb 13, 2022 |
The female answer to “A Man Called Ove”, this was a lovely read, if a little predictable at times. It’s nice to read stories that make you believe in the goodness of humanity. ( )
  Amzzz | Jan 24, 2022 |
* I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I might be one of the few who has not yet read Eleanor Oliphant, but I absolutely adored A Man Called Ove, so I was compelled to give Beth Morrey's new book a go. The Love Story of Missy Carmichael is about an elderly, lonesome woman enduring her hardships and struggles on her own, without purpose or direction, but then finds that friends and companionship help fill her life with meaning again.

I had such high hopes for this book, but I must say, I felt underwhelmed by the story of Missy Carmichael. The first third of the book was about Missy ignoring her issues and generally isolating herself from society, while feeling sorry for herself. The second-third of the book was about her kind of making friends, but still boo-hooing about her lot in life. The last third of the book was the best part. Missy finally became a dynamic character, instead of the dull, flat one we got for the first two-thirds, and I genuinely enjoyed the end.

In general, I found it very difficult to relate to Missy as a character. I understand loneliness and depression can create a life that does not seem worth living, but it was extremely difficult for me to garner any sympathy for Missy Carmichael. Her personality came across as adolescent, rather than that of an 80-year-old woman. It felt almost forced sometimes, as if it were a chore to act so abysmal toward life, and that made it a chore for me to keep reading.

Things I did like: other characters that Missy eventually befriended were dynamic and had so much growth and impact on the story. Like, the story literally could not exist if these characters disappeared. I wouldn't want to even touch the book if these characters didn't exist. They were relatable and fun, and they pulled me along through the story and Missy's struggles. I also liked Missy's animal companion; I think animal therapy is underrated and so beneficial toward mental health - the author thoughtfully portrayed the relationship between Missy and her furry friend and I really enjoyed watching it play out.

I mentioned that I really enjoyed A Man Called Ove, so why didn't I like this book as much? I think much of it had to do with the writing style. It was a quick read, but the style in which the story played out felt cumbersome, and like I mentioned earlier, I couldn't relate or sympathize with the main character. Perhaps I'm just not at that point in my life yet, and a reread down the road will present a different opinion. However, if you are also someone who enjoyed Backman's book or Eleanor Oliphant, definitely give this book a go! Maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised. ( )
  katprohas | Dec 16, 2021 |
A review I wrote in February 2020:

Saving Missy by Beth Morrey (4.5 stars)

A poignant and tender debut novel; beautifully written in a descriptive, strong prose, narrated in
the first person by Missy, and with a flowing, natural dialogue.

Missy, or Millicent, is 79 and she is alone. Despite living in a built up area, in Stoke Newington,
she has isolated herself from people around her and she is haunted by the emptiness of her large
family home. Her son and grandson are in Australia and she is estranged from her daughter. Can
she break out of her self-inflicted isolation and forge new connections with the people around
her?

I loved Beth Morrey’s characters, all very different but with warmth and humanity shining through
all sorts of circumstances. Although ultimately an uplifting read, with the wonderful message that
new starts can begin at any age, it’s also quite a difficult read for anyone who has experienced
aloneness and loneliness.

Tipped for big things by the publishers (there was a 10-way publisher auction for Missy!), this is a
book we’re going to be hearing a lot more about in 2020. ( )
  ArdizzoneFan | Dec 14, 2021 |
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For readers of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and A Man Called Ove, a life-affirming, deeply moving "coming-of-old" story, a celebration of how ordinary days are made extraordinary through friendship, family, and the power of forgiving yourself--at any age. "At a time when people are having to isolate, [this novel is] a balm, offering an expansive sense of love and possibility at a time when the main characters feel like those chances are gone." --Christian Science Monitor The world has changed around seventy-nine-year-old librarian Millicent Carmichael, aka Missy. Though quick to admit that she often found her roles as a housewife and mother less than satisfying, Missy once led a bustling life driven by two children, an accomplished and celebrated husband, and a Classics degree from Cambridge. Now her husband is gone, her daughter is estranged after a shattering argument, and her son has moved to his wife's native Australia, taking Missy's beloved only grandchild half-a-world away. She spends her days sipping sherry, avoiding people, and rattling around in her oversized, under-decorated house waiting for...what exactly? The last thing Missy expects is for two perfect strangers and one spirited dog named Bob to break through her prickly exterior and show Missy just how much love she still has to give. In short order, Missy finds herself in the jarring embrace of an eclectic community that simply won't take no for an answer--including a rambunctious mutt-on-loan whose unconditional love gives Missy a reason to re-enter the world one muddy paw print at a time. Filled with wry laughter and deep insights, The Love Story of Missy Carmichael is a coming-of-old story that shows us it's never too late to forgive yourself and, just as important, it's never too late to love.

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