Book: Watch Me Disappear
Author: Janelle Brown
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.-Goodreads
Review: Billie Flanagan goes on a hike and is never seen again. Her cell phone and boot are recovered, but they never find a body. One year later, her husband Jonathon finds himself struggling with her death and financial issues. Their teenage daughter, Olive, is having visions of her mother and is adamant that she is still alive. When Jonathon finds a locked file on Billie's laptop and realizes his seemingly loving, honest wife was lying to him about some things, he begins to question who his wife really was.
I love the idea of peeling back the layers of a person. Do we really know 'everything' about a person? How do we present ourselves to others? Do we present our true self or the self we think they want to see? What types of secrets exist between husbands and wives? In that sense, I like the theme of this book and Jonathon's journey of sorts to figuring out his wife. While I initially felt some kinship to Billie as a fellow mom, I quickly changed my opinion of her as the book progressed. She was an awful person. As such, it was a challenge to push through to the end to officially find out what happened to her. The first chapter heavily foreshadowed what happened and I wish the author had left the ending more open ended. Instead, we were spoon fed exactly what happened on the hike in extreme detail. Some readers may love having everything tied up in a neat bow, I think some ambiguity would have been stronger.
Overall, I liked it.