Cover Image: Meredith, Alone

Meredith, Alone

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An emotional read.
Meredith doesn't leave the house and as the book progresses we find out why, and what it will take for her to venture out again.

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Meredith has spent 3.5 years in her home, anticipating the grocery deliveryman, doing puzzles and spending time with her adoring cat Fred. But things are starting to change in her life, and Meredith might have to realize that the world will be knocking at her door sooner than she would like.

Meredith Maggs is a wonderfully written character, deepening with each chapter and flashback adding rich history and heartbreak to her story. The book is well-paced, the characters are well-developed, and the stakes are so high that your heart beats and breaks with hers. It's a beautiful road to recovery book, with true-to-life depictions of mental illness, trauma, recovery and familial struggles.

A complimentary copy was provided by Grand Central Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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Meredith, another fictional character I fell in love with. This is such a tender and authentic story about what it is like to live with panic attack disorder, agoraphobia, anxiety, and depression. Meredith Maggs has not left her house in 1,214 days. She works remotely and her daily companion is her cat. She has a childhood best friend that visits her and in this journey of coming to terms with her past two unexpected people show up in her life and help her rediscover who she is and give her the courage to open up.

My gosh, where do I begin. Firstly, I love a novel that really exposes what is like to live with a mental illness. The day to day is very real. This is not a cinematic novel that moves fast. It is a slower paced character driven novel but written in such a vulnerable and beautiful way. The reader goes back and forth in time learning about Meredith’s upbringing and the trauma she endured. It is very heartbreaking at times. What led to her shutting out the world, the toxic narrative that was conditioned in her from such a young age, and the moment in time that her fear consumed her. I also love how friendship plays such an important role in this novel. How true friends are the ones that stick by you when you are at your worst. A wise person told me once, don’t worry about collecting pennies in your life, seeking 100 friends that are sorta supportive and sorta consistent. Look for the quarters. The ones that are worth so much more. And this book reminds me of that. The significance of having a true friend that will love you unconditionally. Courage is not being fearless, it is moving scared. And that is exactly what Meredith embodies in this novel. I just love her.

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I didn't know much about this book before picking it up and I was so delighted to love it as much as I did. This is such an important story about the effects trauma has on our lives. Told in sparse language, this is an easy book to read despite the heavy topics. Meredith is absolutely lovable and I was rooting for her throughout the story. I enjoyed the dual timeline, the supporting characters, and watching Meredith go through her journey. Wonderful book!

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Meredith, Alone was unlike any book I have read recently. And I adored it.

Reading this book about someone who has willingly not left her apartment for so long, after we were forced to during the covid 19 pandemic was fascinating. I think that perspective made me enjoy and appreciate Meredith's story so much more.

The character development here was critical to getting invested and really enjoying this book. I felt so deeply for Meredith. Her pain and her triumph resonated equally with me. I also appreciate how the story was told - the flashbacks give us context, as do the interactions with the people who came into her life.

I so appreciated how much Meredith's story shed light on mental health and the importance of discussing it and tackling it in a healthy way.

This story touched me and will stay with me for a long time.

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I felt indifferent to this book at 41% so I decided to add this to my did not finish pile. I enjoyed the main character and felt for her, but there was not a pull to keep me coming back to the book to hear more of her story.

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Set in Glasgow, Scotland, Meredith has not left her home in over 1200 days. She has no need to leave; she has an online writing job, she can order her groceries online, she visits with her therapist online. Her only companion is her cat, Fred. She has a friend with children who pops by when she has a minute. The only thing Meredith lacks is the support of her mother and her sister who Meredith believes bailed out on her following a traumatic family event.

Tom, who works for an agency, starts coming by to check on her well-being. Meredith is an excellent baker and she usually bakes him a treat which they sit down and share. She finds an online friend, Celeste, and it is through Celeste's revealing of a traumatic event in her life, that Meredith decides something has to change in her own life.

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As the novel begins l, we find Meredith counting the days upwards that she has spent not leaving the house. She has a box she built herself for deliveries, books, jigsaws, and a cat Fred. Throughout the novel we watch Meredith come alive as community enters her life. An endearing read!

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A beautiful story of Meredith and her working on getting her life back. She is anxiety ridden having had a terribly unstable childhood, being estranged from her sister and it only got worse when she suffered a truly traumatic event. Her world has become very small. So small in fact she hasn’t left her home in 1200+ days. She manages to get what she needs and has a small circle of trusted friends and her cat. We go along with Meredith on journey trying to take control of life and walk beyond her front door and deal with her demons. She has a small close group that know who she really is and do all they can to help her. It’s an emotional read that include some difficult subject matter. The author has clearly done a great deal of research so nothing is gratuitous, but is respectful. This is an emotional, but wonderful read that truly had me having hope for Meredith from the very beginning.

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This poignant novel about Meredith's life caught me by surprise. The main character, after a traumatic event, finds herself unable to leave her house. But thanks to her unexpected support system, she starts the road to recovery. Although I've never been in a situation like Meredith's, her situation was truly relatable. I really felt for Meredith and felt invested in her journey and the unconventional relationships she found along the way.

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I felt like this was almost topical what with people trying to stay home during Covid even though it was a book about agoraphobia and trauma and not the pandemic. I felt like the cover made it look like it was going to be a lighthearted romp and it was not at all. She is a woman dealing with a lot and not terribly successfully. I enjoyed reading about Meredith but the story was a lot darker than I felt it was marketed.

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4 stars!

Wow, what a heavy, emotional book. Unexpectedly sad and heartbreaking but simultaneously moving and hopeful. I cried several times while reading "Meredith, Alone" by Claire Alexander. I wished, more than once, that I could reach through my Kindle and give Meredith a massive hug. My god, she goes through a lot in her life! I thought, oh, we all just went through a lockdown and we were stuck at home because of COVID, this will be an interesting parallel story to read now. Boy, was I wrong about those parallels.

The story unfolds very slowly across a dual timeline, but when everything becomes clear, and the reasons why Meredith hasn't left her house in 1200+ days are explained via flashbacks, it all begins to make sense. It involves many potentially triggering topics, including child abuse, rape, sexual assault, PTSD, anxiety, mental illness, depression, and suicide, so please be aware of this before reading. Meredith is a thoroughly well-developed character with a good heart. She's just had a world of crap thrown her way. We get to know all of her quirks, her triggers, her traumas, and how she copes with and navigates not leaving her house in great detail. With the helpful words, patience, and companionship of her online community of friends, her online therapist Diane, her in-person best friend Sadie, her cat Fred, and a volunteer named Tom, Meredith attempts to reenter society after a long, self-imposed isolation. Most of the book is well-written, but I thought the ending was too rushed. Some readers may find the timeline jumping a bit unorganized and discombobulating.

Thank you to NetGalley, Claire Alexander, and Grand Central Publishing for providing me with an ARC copy of this book! All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for my review.

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Sweet Meredith, I wish I could have hugged you as a child, wish you could have been one of the kids that came to my library to give you a kind word. All she ever wanted was kindness and a normal childhood. Fiona, her sister loved her dearly, and she had a great best friend Sadie ( the greatest best friend ever!! ) But the verbal and emotional abuse from her mother daily made her feel worthless.

Meredith has not left the house in 1214 days after a traumatizing event happened in her life. She already suffered from childhood depression based to an abusive parent that not even her sister can save her from. Her mom blamed her for their father leaving them and even said that she was the reason that he left. 

Trigger warning there is a sexual assault, child abuse, and attempted suicide. 

This story is very heavy, and we are going through it with Meredith. She has signed up with the encouragement of her best friend Sadie, to have visits from an organization that provide friendly visits from volunteers. Meredith also connects with an online support group anonymously for social interactions since she doesn't leave the house. I also cannot forget Fred her ginger cat that has kept her company all this time. 

Tom comes to visit her about once a week, and they drink tea, he helps her with jigsaw puzzles, but he also tries to provide a safe environment so she can talk about her isolation. Tom genuinely loves spending time with her and cares about her mental state. Meredith is very hesitant she wants to stay in her home, in the safety of the bubble she has created herself, and be left alone. But just like Sadie, Tom recognizes an amazing young woman who just needs a person she can trust. 

The past comes knocking on her door and she is again faced with the events of the trauma that has made her homebound.

This is a beautiful book with beautiful characters navigating through very traumatic heavy experiences and you connect with all the characters. It was very well written and made me appreciate all the friends that reach out to me and help me in my moments of need and how we must reciprocate that to the people in our lives when they just need some tea and biscuits and a friendly face and kind words. You never know if it could save a life.

Thank you, NetGalley for this advanced copy in return for my honest review.

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Meredith, Alone
Author: Claire Alexander
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4⭐️
Pub Date: November 1, 2022

Synopsis: Meredith has stayed in her house, without leaving, for the past 3.5 years. She has everything she needs: grocery delivery, her cat, a best friend who visits with her kids, and a great online support group. Meredith finally feels ready to go out into the world again, but is she ready to face what made her shy away in the first place?

What I Thought: When I realized why Meredith decided to stay inside all the time, my heart broke. You spend the first part of the book thinking she is just being stubborn, but her real reasons are more than justified. There were a couple side plots that fell flat and were a dead end in the story. Overall, I enjoyed the message of this one.

Favorite Quotes:
- “We are like salt and pepper, totally different but we come as a pair.”
- “I hate it when people call them [medications] happy pills. Like they’re some magical cure.”

Can anyone tell me why women were called ‘hen’? Is this a cultural saying in Scotland?

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Meredith, Alone was a moving story!

Meredith Maggs is almost 40, she lives in Glasgow but what is shocking is that she has stayed home for almost 3.5 years!

Meredith works from home, gets her food delivered, exercises by running up and down her stairs and she entertains herself by doing jigsaw puzzles. For company, she talks to her therapist online. Her best friend Sadie stops by frequently, alone or with her kids, and of course, she has her house cat, Fred, who is always there for her.

Meredith didn't use to be this way. She used to work outside and go out to bars but something happened that changed her life.

Meredith didn't have a nice childhood. Her mother was abusive. However, she was very close to her sister Fiona. Yet, in the present Fiona is absent. As the story unfolds we learned what happened between the siblings.

Despite her agoraphobia and self-isolation, new people come into her life. There is Tom McDermott from Holding hands, Celeste from a support group website, and Jacob, a kid next door. These new connections will bring change into Meredith's life.

In a way, this is a story of hope, with interesting and well-developed characters and with a realistic ending that had me rooting for Meredith.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Grand Central Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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I was a bit reluctant to read this book but I am so glad I dived into it anyway. This is a remarkably clever story of a woman who has not left her house in over 1200 days and has perfected her life alone in her home, working remotely and ordering everything she needs online. She is lonely, yes, but feels that is a small price to pay to feel safe.

A series of events shakes up the perfect life she has created and leads Meredith to confront her fears and summon up a bravery she didn't think she possessed.

Along the way, she makes new friends who encourage her to move forward and work on accepting her self, dealing with past trauma and making hard yet positive changes in her life.

A very uplifting story about struggle and learning to heal, making new connections with others. Along the way there is a hefty dose of humor that I really enjoyed.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Grand Central Publishing and the author for allowing me access to an eARC of this book. I highly recommend it!

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As a social worker, I have a lot of thoughts about Meredith.

As a reader, I still have a lot of thoughts about Meredith, but they're less clinical.

Meredith, Alone is a book with a lot of warmth and heart, but also a lot of sadness, heartbreak, and struggle. Meredith is a woman with severe anxiety who seems enveloped by looming darkness and the shadow of a haunting past, and the "whys" of these things are slowly revealed to the reader through the course of the novel.

There are plenty of side characters, some love-able, others more on the love-to-hate end of the spectrum, but each of them bring something unique to the story and open up a new facet of Meredith's personality and story. Claire Alexander's storytelling is very purposeful, and the character development was intentional and exact, meant to move Meredith's story forward and show us more about who her main character is.

I can't say I deeply *enjoyed* this book, because it was a bit depressing at times, but I can appreciate it for the well-crafted and thoughtful read that it was, and the talented way in which Alexander wrote Meredith's story to make readers feel the depth of a spectrum of emotions.

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DNF @ 33%. This book has really wonderful reviews, but after trying to get into this book for 3 weeks, I think it's just not for me. It was pretty slow-moving and I'm not sure if it's more of a "not right now" book that I'll go back to eventually, but I've decided to leave it alone for now.

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Meredith Maggs has not left her home in over 1,214 days. She is content with her life in that she works remotely writing and is part of an online therapy group. She loves jigsaw puzzles, reading, baking, keeping her house clean, and spending time with her cat, Fred.

A man named Tom from a charity group starts stopping by once a week and they enjoy chatting and sharing some of Meredith delicious baked goods. He is trying to encourage her to take the baby steps needed to get out into life.

Meredith has a long-time friend named Sadie who has two children whom Meredith enjoys being with. Soon, Meredith meets Celeste on a online support group and they become fast friends.

She grew up with her sister, Fiona, and her single mother who treated her cruelly and with disdain. But something devastating happened to Meredith that led to her fear of leaving her home and to an estrangement from her sister and mother.

As we follow Meredith, we find that she is actually a lot stronger than she thinks. She is also a very good friend and compassionate woman. At the beginning of the story, I thought we would be reading about a woman plagued with all kinds of neuroses but that so not the case. I ended up loving Meredith and wishing I had her for a friend. A delightful book of self-discovery and healing. Enjoy!

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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Meredith, Alone was such a hearbreakingly honest view of mental illness and recovering from trauma. I was so happy to read a book that was able to be honest and still hopeful-that clearly showed how it's not a linear path. Great characters, well-defined plot, interesting back and forth timeline.

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