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Miss Me When I'm Gone: A Novel Paperback – July 31, 2012
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From the Back Cover
Author Gretchen Waters made a name for herself with her bestseller Tammyland—a memoir about her divorce and her admiration for country music icons Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton that was praised as a "honky-tonk Eat, Pray, Love." But her writing career is cut abruptly short when she dies from a fall down a set of stone library steps. It is a tragic accident and no one suspects foul play, certainly not Gretchen's best friend from college, Jamie, who's been named the late author's literary executor.
But there's an unfinished manuscript Gretchen left behind that is much darker than Tammyland: a book ostensibly about male country musicians yet centered on a murder in Gretchen's family that haunted her childhood. In its pages, Gretchen seems to be speaking to Jamie from beyond the grave—suggesting her death was no accident . . . and that Jamie must piece together the story someone would kill to keep untold.
About the Author
Emily Arsenault is also the author of The Broken Teaglass, In Search of the Rose Notes, Miss Me When I’m Gone, and What Strange Creatures. She lives in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, with her husband and daughter.
Top customer reviews
I knocked off one star because I often found myself confused about whose voice I was listening to. In the Tammyland chapters, it's signed off as "Tammyland" at the end of the chapters. There is a clue in the chapter headings that you are now listening to Gretchen, but those are too easy to miss. I had to reread paragraphs and pages after flipping through to figure out who was talking. It would be well served by having those chapters segmented in some obvious, noticeable way.
That said, I'm about to buy the authors other two books because I enjoyed this one so much.
It isn't long before Jamie is wondering if her friend had a very serious reason for wanting to determine when people aren't telling the truth. And serving as Gertrude's literary executor is more complicated than she anticipated. For it isn't long until Jamie is wondering if her friend fell on the steps or was pushed.
As both literary executor and as Gertrude's friend, Jamie searches for answers she believes lie not only in the disorganized materials her former roommate left behind but also Gertrude's first book, Tammyland. While Gertrude's Tammyland focuses on a tour of places associated with the women of country music -- Tammy Wynette in particular -- and explores her feelings about being recently divorced, her second book seems less like what was proposed to be a tour of places associated with the men of country music than a quest to learn the identity of Gertrude's father and an investigation into her mother's murder.
Arsenault interposed passages from Tammyland with Jamie's interviews of people in Gertrude's notes and Jamie's growing concern that something and someone sinister lies behind Gertrude's untimely death. As I read, I grew to know both women well and grew more and more suspicious of the circumstances of Gertrude's "fall". With Gertrude and Jamie, I began to learn more about Gertrude's mother, Shelley, and the men with whom she was involved. I realized, before Jamie did, what must have happened to both Gertrude and Shelley, but I'm pretty confident Arsenault meant me to do so.
The book offers a suspense and tension that builds gradually, until the mysteries of Gertrude and Shelley are solved as much as they can be. And I learned quite a lot about the women of country and some of their music as a bonus.
I recommend this book as both a mystery novel and a glimpse into the minds of and emotions of two, strong women characters.
The premise is this: Jamie's friend, Gretchen, and author of "Tammyland," a memoir of both her divorce and female country music stars, falls down the steps after a book signing. The big question is: Was it murder or an accident? And if murder, whodunit? Yet this isn't a detective or murder mystery so much as a chronicle through a woman's life from the eyes of a friend, which poses the question: How much do we ever know the people in our lives?
Yet the best parts are the short chapters from "Tammyland," which are written in such a unique yet warm voice that they often overshadow the rest of the book. Is this a good or bad thing? I dunno, only that I can't wait to read "Miss Me When I'm Gone" again, and that's no small compliment.