Here’s a little review on my opinion of Janelle Fletcher’s “Watch Me Disappear”.
This book took me about 3-4 days of steady reading a few times a day to complete. That’s actually quite good for my speed! I’m trying to get it back up to where it was when I was younger. I’m getting there!
Before I get started, I think you should have an idea of what the book is about. Here’s a summary taken directly from Goodreads:
It’s been a year since Billie Flanagan—a beautiful, charismatic Berkeley mom with an enviable life—went on a solo hike in Desolation Wilderness and vanished from the trail. No body—only a hiking boot—has ever been found. Billie’s husband and teenage daughter cope with her death the best they can: Jonathan drinks, Olive grows remote.
But then Olive starts having waking dreams—or are they hallucinations?—that her mother is still alive. Jonathan worries about Olive’s emotional stability, until he starts unearthing secrets from Billie’s past that bring into question everything he thought he knew about his wife. Together, Olive and Jonathan embark on a quest for the truth—about Billie, their family, and the stories we tell ourselves about the people we love.
I’ll start with the characters. Jonathan, the husband and father, is rather bland. He manages to develop throughout the book but not change at the same time, strangely enough. He’s just a boring old dad who is obsessed with his work and realizes this obsession too late. Olive has more depth. She’s the teenage daughter with an attitude that’s labelled “aggressive”, although I beg to differ. I can relate to Olive and her teenage struggles myself. She’s been through a lot more trauma than I have, however. Still, she is comparable to myself. Billie is more intriguing than Jonathan, and her POV is only shown in the prologue and monologue. Of course, she’s described in the book but, as I’m sure you can tell, I was quite disappointed in Jonathan’s character. He’s such a crucial character in this story and I feel as though an opportunity was wasted, just because his character rubs off as so pedestrian.
That being said, the plot was great. I’m not going to lie, when I read the blurb on the back and I saw that ghosts would be involved, I was ready to put the book right back on the shelf. I wasn’t looking for an unrealistic book. However, I was feeling generous and so I decided to give it a go. I’m glad I did! The “ghosts” part was nothing like a fantasy novel. It didn’t feel childish or anything. It integrated into the book very well, actually.
If I say anymore, I think I’ll be giving too much away. I highly (!!) suggest you read this book. It’s got a very special, interesting theme that I don’t often see in books.
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