Review: When She Was Gone by Gwendolen Gross

March 19, 2013 Gallery Books, General Fiction, Review 5

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; Original edition (March 19, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1451684746
  • Source: Publisher

Linsey Hart is supposed to head to Cornell, embarking upon her new life in college, in a week. When she goes missing her mother, Abigail, is obviously frantic, calling on her neighbors for help. No one seems quite as concerned as Abigail about Linsey’s disappearance; she’s a typical teen, forced to break up with her boyfriend so she can start anew. As a matter of fact, her neighbors seem more concerned with their own personal issues to become to invested in hunting for Linsey.

Mr. Leonard, the Hart’s next-door neighbor and former piano teacher, is dying from cancer he refuses to treat. Suffering from insomnia, he’s often seen playing his piano wearing his deceased mother’s ballgown. He is the last to see Linsey before she disappears, watching her leave her house early one morning before dawn. Reeva leads the clique of mothers. Rather than being concerned about Linsey’s disappearance she’s more concerned with her latest obsession: a young (young!) barista she’s with whom she’s having an affair. Then there is Timmy, Linsey’s heartbroken ex-boyfriend and George, an eleven-year old whom Timmy calls upon to help him locate Linsey.

A huge cast of characters, many of which having nothing to do, or have concern about, Linsey’s disappearance. While I understand the author’s intent, to show how a small community seemingly unravels after the disappearance of a young girl, the story really didn’t connect with me. So many characters, most of which lacked depth and I honestly had no connection with. Even Linsey, the “victim” in this novel, generated zero sympathy from this reader. Perhaps if each of the characters were more developed, even if that meant an increase in page count, I could have become more invested in this novel. Unfortunately, that was the case and I honestly felt little attraction to this book. As a fan of the author’s previous book I kept holding out, hoping something would spark my interest and pull me into this novel. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and I was left feeling completely empty upon reading this book.

Perhaps I have high expectations, demanding more from the characters I read about? Reading this novel after a truly exceptional one, perhaps my standards were set too high? Perhaps this just wasn’t the novel for me? I do implore you to make your own judgement on this novel, read it yourself before judging solely on my opinion.

5 Responses to “Review: When She Was Gone by Gwendolen Gross”

  1. Hattie

    When there are too many characters some not even three dimensional, I get frustrated. I liked your review.

    • Jenn
      Twitter: jennbookshelves

      I wouldn’t compare it to Gone Girl. Other the fact that both books have a missing girl (in this case, a teen) there are no other comparisons.

  2. Literate Housewife
    Twitter: lithousewife

    I was underwhelmed by this book as well. The resolutions, where they existed, were far from fulfilling. The only character I cared about was the victim’s brother.