LOVED AND MISSED – Susie Boyt – “Unconditional Love”

Those who don’t like to show emotion in public should be aware: It’s best to experience this remarkable story in the comfort of your own home.

By Susie Boyt ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 19, 2023

Ruth’s life is turned upside down when she learns her daughter Eleanor is pregnant. Despite Eleanor’s resistance, Ruth offers to help when Lily is born, and takes control of the baptism. When Ruth finds an unresponsive person in Eleanor’s apartment, she takes Lily and anticipates a custody battle that never comes. The years pass quickly as Lily grows into a kind and strong-willed child. Ruth’s outsize shame and self-deprecating wit prevent her from wallowing in her pain. Her friend and co-worker Jean Reynolds provide comic relief and loyalty. Through intimate narration, Ruth balances the pain of losing a daughter with the hope of a second chance.

Ruth’s relationship with Lily brings a cautious joy, and she can’t help but see the trail of maternal pain that originated with her own mother. Love can go awry, but can it be righted? Though Lily isn’t immune from trauma, she is propped up by Ruth’s devotion. In the final third of the book, Lily’s perspective takes over and the double meaning of the title is revealed. Ruth’s aim may have been wrong, but it can still be righted.

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Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2023
ISBN: 9781681377810

Page Count: 224
Publisher: New York Review Books

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2023