May 25, 2016

A Slice of Brie Book Club: Remember Mia & Next Month's Book Pick

Hello Book Clubbers!
A Slice of Brie Book Club
For those of you new around these parts, today is book club day and we will be discussing this month's book, Remember Mia by Alexandra Burt. Spoilers will be part of the discussion since this is a book club after all, so consider yourself warned! As I did last month, I will have a few questions at the end of the post to encourage discussion on the book - feel free to answer them in the comments or not! And I also encourage people to comment on other people's comments to really get the discussion going. If you have a blog post in which you reviewed or talked about Remember Mia, I'd love for you to link up at the end of this post so that I can be sure to check out your post!

Also, there's a poll at the end of this post so make sure you vote for next month's book! If you're new to A Slice of Brie Book Club, in a nutshell, it's an online book club for fellow book lovers. A place to talk about a chosen book from the comfort of your own home/computer! Everyone is welcome, you definitely do not have to have a blog to participate! Every month, we vote on which book to read for the following month. The poll will stay open until Sunday night and I will announce the book next Tuesday. No commitment to join, but if you've ever wanted to join a book club, this is a great place to start!


OK! On to this month's book...Remember Mia by Alexandra Burt. As I usually do, I waited until the last minute to read this book. I like to have it fresh in my mind before talking about it. So basically, I read all but 30 pages yesterday (and then finished it off yesterday morning). I couldn't put it down!
Remember Mia a Book Club discussion
Quick summary: Remember Mia is the story of Estelle and the disappearance of her 7 month old baby girl, Mia. Estelle is clearly suffering from postpartum depression and has no support systems in place. One day, Estelle wakes up on the couch and all trace of Mia (her bottles, her diapers, all her clothes, everything, save for her crib), is missing. Estelle has no idea what has happened to her daughter, but instead of going directly to her husband (who is living in Chicago for work while Estelle and the baby are in NY), or the police, Estelle tries to make sense of what has happened on her own first. Then, 3 days later, Estelle wakes up in the hospital with no recollection of the past days events. Estelle was found in the ravine in her car, with a gun shot wound to her head. Unable to explain the disappearance of Mia or how she got in the accident, the doctors diagnosis Estelle with amnesia.

Estelle's actions and non actions, and lack of emotion over her missing daughter, make her a suspect in the authorities eyes. But instead of being charged, Estelle's husband forces her into voluntarily admitting herself into a psychiatric hospital for treatment. Here, Estelle will work with Dr Ari to uncover her memories leading up to the disappearance of Mia.

This book pulled me in from the get-go. Maybe because I'm a mom, I could easily relate and empathize with what Estelle was going through during those first months of motherhood. I didn't personally have to deal with postpartum depression, but I can definitely appreciate how hard motherhood can be. My heart broke for her - I wanted so desperately for someone, anyone!, to recognize that she was suffering and get her the treatment and support she so clearly needed. I was disappointed in her husband for not taking her situation more seriously. I was mad at the doctor she finally did see for just slapping down a prescription for an anti-depressant and dismissing her. And I felt sad for her that she didn't have any mom friends or a mother of her own to help her out.

I really enjoyed the relationship Estelle had with Dr Ari at the psychiatric facility though. Finally someone who recognized that Estelle had gone through postpartum depression and psychosis, and was determined to help her without judgement. I liked the therapy sessions, and how Dr Ari assisted Estelle in recovering her memory. But I also couldn't help but think about how much time was passing while she was in treatment - precious time that Mia continued to be missing.

I didn't feel like this was your typical thriller though. While some parts definitely had me on the edge of the seat, for the most part, what kept me wanting to turn the pages was the desperate need to find out exactly what had happened to Mia. I was pretty confident that Estelle hadn't harmed her own baby. I had some suspicions that her husband might have been involved, and at one point I wondered if Mia had died from SIDS and Estelle didn't know how else to cope with this reality than by blocking out the memory entirely. I also of course had my suspicions about the contractor, David, but I wasn't really sure why he would get involved.

The story of what actually happened to Mia was pretty crazy. Not unbelievable though, just unimaginable as a mother. What I wasn't prepared for though, was that even once we found out what happened to Mia, she wasn't actually returned to her parents. I was expecting a nice tidy ending once Estelle got her memory back. I was not expecting Mia to be missing for 4-5 years! My heart sunk when I saw that. I can't even begin to imagine that life. I honestly don't know that I could go on every single day. How do you not spend every waking moment obsessing over where your daughter is and looking for her?! I wasn't sure how the book would end (would Estelle or the police finally locate Mia, or would she be missing indefinitely), but I was glad with how it ended. I felt like it wasn't the typical ending one would expect - I thought the police would catch the "bad guys" and Mia would be returned to her parents and all would be well. I think given the incidents in the book, it was a good ending. The odds of a missing child being returned to their parents years later isn't common, but it isn't unheard of either.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I try not to have too many expectations for a thriller - I just want to be entertained and not be able to guess the ending right away, and I feel like Remember Mia met these requirements.

QUESTIONS FOR YOU!: (Feel free to discuss in the comments!)

1. Do you think Estelle's character would be harder to relate to if you weren't a mother? Moms and non-moms, thoughts? I think it can be hard to empathize with someone if you can't picture yourself in their shoes. Postpartum depression isn't something people talk enough about it my opinion, and I truly don't think you can appreciate how hard motherhood can be until you are one. 

2. Did you think Estelle was responsible for the disappearance of Mia? If not, who did you suspect was? At one point, I thought maybe Mia had died from SIDS and this was Estelle's way of coping, but I knew that couldn't be the ending of the book. I was frustrated at times that she didn't go straight to the police when Mia was first discovered missing, but given her mental state, I'm also not surprised she didn't act in a normal fashion. I had my suspicions about Lieberman but I wasn't sure why he would get involved. 

3. Did you see the twists coming? Did you find the book predictable or were you kept guessing? I honestly didn't. Even once I realized that Lieberman was responsible for Mia's disappearance, I did not see the events leading up to the ending coming. I couldn't figure out how the car crash and gun shot wound would come into play. 



Here are the choices for June's book club pick. I thought since we are getting into summer months, we should read something a little more fun and light-hearted. Feel free to vote even if you aren't sure you can participate. I'll announce the winner next Tuesday and you'll have a month to read the book!
A Slice of Brie Book Club - June vote
Links to check out these books on Goodreads: Happiness for Beginners, How to Fall in Love, and The Royal We
 **Local friends: All of 3 of these books are readily available at the library

And now to vote!

Happy voting! Don't forget to link up your posts so I can check them out! 

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