by Claire Alexander
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Pub Date 01 Nov 2022 | Archive Date Not set
She has a full-time remote job and her rescue cat Fred. Her best friend Sadie visits with her two children. There's her online support group, her jigsaw puzzles and favorite recipes, her beloved Emily Dickinson, the internet, the grocery delivery man. Also keeping her company are treacherous memories of an unstable childhood, the estrangement from her sister, and a traumatic event that had sent her reeling.
But something's about to change. Whether Meredith likes it or not, the world is coming to her door. Does she have the courage to overcome what's been keeping her inside all this time?
“Beautiful, moving, and unexpectedly timely… it’s such a pleasure to spend time in Meredith’s world.” –Daisy Buchanan
"I shed tears. Very, very touching, sad, sweet and hopeful."—New York Times bestselling author Marian Keyes
"Fans of Eleanor Oliphant will love this big-hearted book.” –Good Housekeeping
"The measured pace keeps the plot moving even as most of the action takes place within Meredith’s flat, and the endearing characters offer a sensitive portrayal of what it means to live with mental health issues. The result is a quiet slice-of-life story with heart to spare."
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 185 members
I did not expect to enjoy this novel as much as I did. I thought it would be a light, Chick-Lit sort of read, but it was so much better. The main character, Meredith, is emotionally sturdy though she has not left her house in years, alone, but not lonely. Her visitors are intriguing and interesting characters, and Claire Alexander has an empathy in writing her characters that caused me to attach to them. Without giving away any of its lovely surprises, I highly recommend this book. It is delightful and compelling. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.
*I received a copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for this opportunity*
Readers should be warned that in this book there are mentions of: rape, childhood abuse, self harm, and suicide attempts
Meredith Maggs has stayed inside her house for 1,214 days (not that she’s counting). She occupies her days with a quick exercise routine, plenty of cooking, puzzles, her cat (Fred), and her best friend (Sadie, as well as her two kids but they’re practically a unit anyway). She works from home (obviously) as a freelance writer, and is perfectly content thank you very much.
MEREDITH, ALONE is the story of a woman who is anything but alone. Comparable to the much beloved ELEANOR OLIPHANT, this story is one of building a community and finding strength to overcome seemingly impossible things. Told through two different timelines (the past and the present), readers slowly learn about Meredith’s past as she takes monumental steps forward in her recovery. It’s a beautiful story– heartbreaking at times, but so hopeful at the end.
This was a rich and rewarding character study of Meredith Maggs, a woman struggling with trauma-induced agoraphobia who hasn't left her little Glasgow home in nearly 4 years. She tells herself and anyone who asks that she's perfectly happy as she is -- she's created a really beautiful and soothing oasis for herself and her beloved cat Fred in the confines of her little house, she bakes and reads and does crossword puzzles, she can have anything she wants or needs delivered to her front door, she has a best friend who visits her regularly, she connects with other people on an internet site for those dealing with personal struggles. But she has no contact with her family, and even stepping out onto her own doorstep sends her into an anxiety spiral that can have her taking to her bed for a few days.
In flashbacks, we can see that Meredith used to have a much different life -- it's not clear until about halfway through the book exactly what the inciting incident was that led her to wall herself off from the outside world, but we learn that she and her older sister Fiona grew up in a chaotic household run by their abusive single mother, that Fiona married a man who gave Meredith the creeps, and that the emotional trauma of her childhood left Meredith feeling like she was unworthy of receiving love and incapable of giving it. As we learn all these things about Meredith, we also see her in the present day taking steps to improve her life and get back out into the world outside her front door. We see her rebuilding her relationship with her sister, developing new friendships with Tom from a local befriending organization and Celeste from her internet site, going to Zoom therapy, and doing a lot of hard work on repairing her relationship with herself as well.
Thanks to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for the opportunity to read this beautiful, heartbreaking, heart-healing book!
This book is OUTSTANDING! I would be so sorry if I didn’t have a chance to meet with Meredith who is such a sensitive, unique woman! I’m delightful to explore her sad, moving, realistic journey!
“Meredith alone” may be one of most honest, poignant, genuine, engaging story of a brave, overwhelmed, exhausted woman in 40 who is suffering from depression, years long abuse, unsaid words, restrained resentment, hatred, sadness!
Meredith didn’t take a step out of her house for a long time. It was 1214 days when the book started! In the opening: We are introduced to Meredith, meeting with Tom, a part of befriending charity called Holding Hands: who is stopping by, eating her cookies, borrowing her favorite book, becoming another person to involve in her life just like her longtime friend Sadie.
Instead of Sadie and Tesco delivery man; she doesn’t have many visitors during her volunteered home quarantine.
We understand Meredith has only two family members: her eccentric mother and her sister Fee who is married and 18 months older than her and we realize they had a fallout.
As we move back and forth between past and present time, we understand how so many tragic events in the past shaped Meredith’s present condition and her character. She suffered from a lot traumatic experiences created by her inner circle. Things you’re gonna find out about her past are painful to digest. Some of the chapters affected me so deeply. I had to take some breaks to breath out, gathering my senses.
Mostly I loved complex, honest relationship of sisters and I found them brave for the painful torments they’ve been facing for years.
And I have to say: this book has fascinating supporting characters.
Sadie is my favorite character. When I read her lines, Juno Temple’s face appeared on my mind. If this book will be adapted into the movie, she will be absolutely great Sadie for big screen!
And Tom is such an amazing supportive character! He was caring, patient, giving everything he could even though his plate was also full with lots of dramatic incidents.
And little Jacob who is kindest boy to burn her mother sweetest gifts was also adorable.
Overall: I highly definitely extremely recommend you to read it!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for sharing this amazing digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.