Book Review: Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

Imagine me goneIn 1960s London, Margaret’s fiancé, John is hospitalised for depression. At this point she has two choices; stay, get married and carry on with life together knowing what she knows, or leave to help prevent any heart ache and suffering, his condition may cause.

She decides to stay and this is where the story starts. The pair go on to have three children; Michael, who copes with life through his music and his use of parody; Alec; the smart son who is a high achiever and is devoted to looking out for his family and Celia, the daughter who lives to help other people succeed.

The story follows the highs and lows of this family from Michael’s struggle to cope in the real world to Margaret’s love and affection for her children and her willingness to do anything to help them, especially her eldest, Michael.

Imagine me gone is a wonderfully-written, at times heart breaking story of a family who are haunted by mental illness and their struggle to survive.

The topic of mental illness and especially depression is a difficult one to cover. For many it is such a sensitive issue and so is not written so much in books until recently. Adam Haslett has succeeded at an impossible task of portraying mental health in a sensitive, sombre way without completely lowering the morale of the whole book.

For other characters, such as Celia, her experience with mental illness pushed her to help other people and to do good in the world, whilst Alec strove to succeed in life with his career. Each member of the family has his or her own coping method whether it is to deal with their own mental health or to cope with the mental illnesses of those surrounding them.

This novel is a bitter-sweet portrayal of how a family can be brought together and pulled apart by such illnesses as depression and the numerous ways people react to it.

(Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett was published on 30th June 2016 by Hamish Hamilton.)


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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