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The Lost Child [Kindle Edition]

Julie Myerson
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Book Description

One bleak, late winter's day, Julie Myerson finds herself in a graveyard, looking for traces of a young woman who died nearly two centuries before. As a child in Regency England, Mary Yelloly painted an exquisite album of watercolours that uniquely reflected the world she lived in. But Mary died at the age of twenty-one, and when Julie comes across this album, she is haunted by the potential never realised, the barely-lived life cut short. And most of all, she is reminded of her own child. Because only days earlier, Julie and her husband locked their eldest son out of the family home. He was just seventeen. How could it have come to this? After a happy growing-up, it had taken only a matter of months for this bright, sweet, good-humoured boy to completely lose his way and propel his family into daily chaos. He had discovered cannabis and was now smoking it everyday - and nothing they could say or do, no help they could offer, seemed to reach him. And Julie - whose emotionally fragile relationship with her own father had left her determined to love her children better - had to accept that she was, for the moment at least, powerless to bring back the boy she had known. Honest, warm and often profoundly upsetting, this is the parallel story of a girl and a boy separated by centuries. The circumstances are very different, but the questions remain terrifyingly the same. What happens when a child disappears from a family? What will survive of any of us in memory or in history? And how is a mother to cope when love - however absolute, however unconditional - is not enough to save her child?

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`Her writing is never less than compelling with its lopped lyricism, like someone who has to keep catching their breath ... The book not only has three strands, it has three audiences: Myerson, her son and anyone who has suffered anything comparable' -- Observer

A serious, writerly, self-critical account of what it means to feel that, despite love and hope and good intentions, you have failed as a parent, and that the child you bore is lost to you. -- Daily Telegraph

If the question is whether a woman has a right to tell a story that is also, actually, her own - a book reviewer can only say yes. And add that anyone who reads it will struggle not to be profoundly moved.
-- Independent

`A serious, writerly, self-critical account of what it means to feel that, despite love and hope and good intentions, you have failed as a parent, and that the child you bore (while still eerily, painfully familiar) is lost to you' -- Daily Telegraph

`It is impossible not to empathise with the Myerson's parental plight ... an aching, empty-nest memoir: a mother mourning for her uncomplicated little children, now grown, whom she could care for, write about without comeback, love - and control' -- The Times


If the question is whether a woman has a right to tell a story that is also, actually, her own - a book reviewer can only say yes. And add that anyone who reads it will struggle not to be profoundly moved.

Product details

More About the Author

Julie Myerson is the author of seven novels, including the bestselling Something Might Happen, and three works of non-fiction, including Home: The Story of Everyone Who Ever Lived In Our House, which was dramatised on BBC Radio 4 and her most recent book, The Lost Child. She lives in London and Suffolk with her husband and teenage children.

(Photo credit: Chloe Myerson)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart breaking 13 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Having read and re-read 'Home' I was shocked and upset to read about Julie's son and the path he has chosen. He had everything going for him, loving family, intelligence, opportunities and yet he became consumed by drugs and chose to lead a hollow life. My heart goes out to Julie and her husband. They were such a happy family but he chose to destroy life for all of them, what a selfish young man.

Despite having been hit by her son, having money stolen from the home and his extraordinary lack of respect for the family, Julie has never lost faith in him, she is an amazing person.
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34 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A damp squib 15 Mar. 2009
By M. Cook
I found the book dull to be honest. The two elements seem to run along such different agendas, I really couldn't see the point that Myerson was trying to make. I picked it up mainly because of all the fuss and the insight it might afford into addictive personalities and errant offspring. Unfortunately it brings nothing new to either of these two traumatising behaviours. Perhaps I was completely on the wrong tack in my expecting it to be a sort of self help book. It didn't help me with greater insight into my own addictive personality nor would I ever throw my son out; I've thought about it, even suggested it but always come to my senses at the 11th hour.
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36 of 50 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why tough love doesn't work 19 April 2009
By Alison
I wanted to read this book because I had been through a similar experience with one of my children. I had followed the story in the press and on TV and I wanted to know just how bad it had been for Julie Myerson that should could throw her own son out on the street and call it tough love.

I found the book totally confusing with three stories running through it and I was only really interested in reading the account of life with her teenage son. As I suspected things really had not been that bad. At least Jake was still attending school sporadically and he was not smoking skunk in their house. Ok he hit her which is bad but I got the feeling that this was a very one sided account of what actually happened that day. Having been through similar situations myself, I know that there are two sides to this story and her infuriating self centered attitude just shows why she has failed as a mother.

I was also confused as to why Julie recounted the story of her own sad childhood. Does she think it's an excuse for her own poor parenting. It's a shame that she didn't think about seeing a therapist before she had children. Hopefully it would have given her some insight and she would have realized that she was far too self absorbed to successfully raise a family. What the author has done by throwing her son out and then writing about it is to prolong the problem. "Her boy" is stuck. Had she loved him unconditionally and chosen not to write about this, I suspect that this phase in their lives would be long gone. I guess she decided that money was more important to her though. I wonder how she'll be able to live with herself in the future.
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23 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bias, self-justification and bad mothering 24 Mar. 2009
By A
When I started reading this book, I did so on the reliance on the author's reputation, without actually hearing the debate and knowing what happened.

I was very disappointed right from the start. I felt that the subjectivism had a profound detrimental effect on the literary value. This bias prevents the reader wanting to take part, as the story is obviously one-sided. Perhaps it's my fault - I couldn't deal with the fact that art imitated life and both of the two story lines were non-fictitious.

I don't believe that there is a real dilemma here. A teenager behaves as many others do. Statistically, one in five 15 years olds regularly used some form of cannabis (including skunk) in 2004. The real figure is believed to be higher. I am sure that the author provided her son with a safe middle-class environment, but I couldn't see, why she acted in such an inconsiderate way to throw him out. After all, who is to blame here? Does it matter? If you have children, you have to take them as they are, unless you don't believe in the power and purpose of family. I have no doubts that if the son would have been a heavy heroin user, he could have ruined his life without receiving the right care or support from the mother. For this, I think both can be faulted. But it would be simple to accept the mother's (parents') standing superior, as they are 'clean'. Seeing their plan to shatter in front of their own eyes, they are not. Parenting is not always a contractual relationship that in return of some safety, one should obey the rules. You can do that with most people outside the family. But family love should be more understanding, more able to use 'tough-love', when necessary.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Uncomfortable Read but Beautifully Written 24 Jan. 2014
By Kate Hopkins TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Julie Myerson's novels have a subtle air of menace about them, and often contain grisly murders, horrible things happening to children, or dreamy, damaged heroines who end up in situations beyond their control. Some of Myerson's fascination with the frightening may relate to disturbing experiences in her own childhood (her parents divorced acrimoniously, her father later suffered from depression and stopped speaking to Julie after her mother took him to court for refusing to pay her school fees (they met once more when Julie was an adult, a few years before her father's suicide). However, Myerson seemed to have put the menacing aspects of her life behind her in reality, if not in fiction. She went to Bristol University and from there moved to London, where she met her husband Jonathan. Over the years, she built up a reputation as a respected novelist and journalist. She and her husband stayed together and had three intelligent children, and bought a house in Clapham (an increasingly desirable area) and a cottage in Suffolk. Myerson was long-listed one year for the Booker Prize. Life seemed good - until the summer that Myerson's eldest son underwent a dramatic personality change from a friendly, bright boy to a truculent, drowsy and sometimes abusive adolescent. Myerson and her husband watched in horror as their family gradually imploded. Their son (referred to throughout the text as 'our boy') refused to get to school on time (if at all), slept for long hours each day, spent entire nights 'out' with his mates (sometimes returning home to cook a fried meal at 4am), besieged his parents for money, stole from them, swore at them and kicked doors down when they tried to hide their wallets and valuables from him. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read with two diverse storylines running through it
Excellent read with two diverse storylines running through it. A very honest account of a mother's love for her son and the turmoil which the whole family faced during his drug... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 7 months ago by barney
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost boy
Why has anyone given Julie Myerson such a hard time? This is the most painfully honest account I have ever read. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Lindsey T
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lost Child book review
Excellent book, helps others in a similar situation not to feel alone, admired her honesty. Felt that someone actually understood.
Published on 25 April 2013 by AnnieG
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best written and heart-rending books I have read
This book was written in such an honest and intriguing style that I couldn't put it down. Having had a son go through what her son went through, I relived the hell of experiencing... Read more
Published on 22 Feb. 2013 by Annie
3.0 out of 5 stars The Lost Child
Not sure if I like this book or not, it flits about all over the place.
However, it does bring to the fore the problems you can have with your children and makes you think... Read more
Published on 7 May 2012 by Ab
1.0 out of 5 stars awful
This book is a terrible invasion on the privacy of the author's son who, shock horror, smoked cannabis. Read more
Published on 14 Mar. 2012 by Aftiti
1.0 out of 5 stars a record of bad parenting
the author seeks to profit and further her career by telling her side of the story. she threw her son out of her home when he was just 17 because he smoked cannabis. Read more
Published on 11 Mar. 2012 by soundofsleep
5.0 out of 5 stars Dont condem if you have no experience of this drug....
I read this novel because at the time we are going through a similar crisis with our boy, also coincidentally, named Jake. Read more
Published on 1 Mar. 2011 by whitewitch
2.0 out of 5 stars Selective Perspective
I read the book knowing very little about Julie and her son's problems, just that there had been a bit of a media splash last year. Read more
Published on 4 July 2010 by Ginny W
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