Cover Image: Meredith, Alone

Meredith, Alone

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Member Reviews

For my Winter Reading Challenge Isolation Book, I decided to read Meredith, Alone.

This story about a woman trying to overcome her fear of leaving her house was one of the most heartfelt, unique stories I’ve ever read.

As Meredith’s story unfolds and she tries to overcome the trauma and abuse that has caused her to isolate herself, I couldn’t help but cheer for her. I loved all the secondary characters too and how they tried to be good friends by meeting her where she was – often quite literary.

This would be an excellent book to discuss with your book club. I highly recommend it for your TBR list.
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MEREDITH, ALONE will have you laughing and crying as Meredith, after spending three years inside her house, figures out how to rejoin the world one step at a time.

I loved the audiobook, narrated by Freya Mavor, who really brought the story and the tender moments to life. Meredith has a full-time remote job and a rescue cat named Fred. Keeping her busy, she has an online support group, jigsaw puzzles, and her beloved Emily Dickinson poems. Also keeping her company are the memories of an unstable childhood and a traumatic event that sent her reeling.

This book really packed the emotional punch, and I loved it. I will say that the author highlighted the trauma and abuse that Meredith experienced, which could possibly be triggering to some, but I loved seeing a relatable character with anxiety and depression, and the ways that she is able to cope.

*many thanks to Grand Central and Hachette Audio for the gifted copy for review
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Meredith, Alone by Claire Alexander (Goodreads Author), Freya Mavor (Narrator)
Colleen Chi-Girl's review on Dec 11, 2022 
***** 5 STARS *****   It was amazing and one of my faves of the year.
Bookshelves: 2022, audio, contemporary, england-uk, feminism, illness-suicide-addiction, netgalley, scotland, self-help, women-centered

This is an AMAZING novel on audiobook and I urge you to read it or listen to it.  I've given it 5 well-deserved stars for so many reasons but the main one is that I didn't want this novel to end.  And I'm hoping to read more by this author, Claire Alexander.  I also really enjoyed the narrator, Freya Mavor, SO much that perhaps the audiobook is the way to go. Freya Mavor had me under her spell within the first few sentences. I was entranced and could listen to her all day, week, month long.

The novel is written in an interesting countdown of days since a terrible event happened in the main character, Meredith's life. The prose is clever and intelligent, accessible, thought provoking, empathic, and enjoyable. Although I've never experienced the kind of situation that Meredith has incurred, I really identified with the lovely and interesting woman, Meredith. We learn as we read and I love character driven novels.  

However, things are about to change and new characters are carefully introduced into her life. As things change for Meredith, and the people around her, the world become larger, brighter, and better.  I would assume the readers' lives could possibly change as well. and it's always a good time for a feel-good and learn-much novel.. 
 As we are in the winter holidays, it's also a good time to be caring and understanding of others who may not experience things in the same way we do. Regardless, this novel transported me into a suspension of time and that gives it at least 5 BIG STARS.

Thank you to NetGalley, Claire Alexander, Freya Mavor, and (LOVE this name:) Grand Central Publishing for this beautiful and special ARC.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Happy holidays!
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Full review at:  https://bakingthroughbookclub.com/2022/12/06/sifting-through-the-pain/

I finished this book a couple days ago, but I needed a few days to let it marinate in my mind.  I've been trying to figure out the words to describe it.  Happy?  Sad?  Victorious?  Broken?  Quiet and Unassuming?  A bold statement about the impact of trauma?  The truth is, I feel all of those things.  

Meredith Maggs is a forty-year-old woman who has not left her apartment in over three years.  She is quite content with her life, spending her days doing jigsaw puzzles, exercising by running up and down her staircase, reading, petting her cat, Fred, and baking.  Meredith is an extraordinary baker,  but we'll get to that later.  Even though she will not leave her apartment, she does have people that visit her.  Her best friend, Sadie, regularly visits with her children (and also runs errands for Meredith as needed).   Then there's Tom, who works for the Helping Hands Agency.  He is tasked to visit Meredith once a week and check in with her to make sure she is doing okay.  Meredith merely tolerates his presence at first, but their friendship blossoms throughout the book.  Finally, there is Celeste, a new friend that Meredith meets on a therapy message board.  Celeste comes to see Meredith at her apartment a few times, but she has no idea that Meredith is reclusive. Meredith isn't honest with Celeste about her living situation, and she finds ways to avoid telling Celeste about her problems. Celeste, who is a rape survivor, credits Meredith with helping her through her recovery.

At Sadie's request, Meredith begins to see an online therapist.  The therapist wants to start Meredith in cognitive behavioral therapy.  While Meredith is resistant at first, she finally agrees when Celeste invites her to her upcoming birthday party.  Meredith desperately wants to be there for her friend, but she's not sure if she can make enough progress in time.  Between these therapy sessions and Meredith's conversations with Tom, we also find out that Meredith has a sister named Fiona. Both girls were verbally abused by their mother.  Meredith and Fiona were very close when they were children, but they had a falling out.  I can't go more into their story without dropping some spoilers, but their relationship is an exploration of love and forgiveness. 

Meredith, Alone not only discusses the impacts of trauma, but it also shows how different people process it.  Meredith does not leave her apartment.  Fiona enters into an unhealthy relationship.  Celeste seeks help from a supportive community. While the characters are facing similar circumstances, society only views Meredith's behavior as maladaptive.  However, one could argue that Meredith was actively doing more to heal from her trauma than the other two characters.  

Trauma is a journey, and the path to rise above it is not easy.  With that being said, Meredith, Alone felt like sitting in a therapist's office.  Part of the problem might be that I cannot relate to what the characters are going through, although I can understand.  While I enjoyed the book,  I'm not sure if it's how I want to spend my reading time.  I am not the intended audience of this book.

For readers who have survived trauma, I could see this book being both inspiring and triggering.  While the abuse scenes are not overly graphic, every step of Meredith's recovery process is detailed.  Some readers will celebrate this as a way to remove the stigma behind trauma recovery.  Others, however, might feel uncomfortable (or further traumatized) because of their own background and life experiences.  If you are in the second category, I highly recommend being honest with yourself about where you are in the recovery process.  Is it healing for you to hear stories similar to yours, or will that cause you further harm?  Only you can make that call.
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Oh my heart this book. You just want Meredith to be brave. I love the different facets that this book covers and the ignorance of some people to anxiety, depression and other triggers that this book touches. Heartwarming and heartbreaking characters. People you will wonder about two years down the road. 

The Narrator had to grow on me. My first experience with her. We were old friends by the end. 

Big Thanks to NetGalley and Claire Alexander for the opportunity to review this book.
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I am conflicted on how I feel about this book, I have a lot of thoughts. It’s very heavy and it was incredibly difficult to get through at times but it is also so upsettingly relatable at times. There are moments I really wish weren’t in there or were less detailed but ultimately if you check a full list of tw’s and don’t mind heavier books then I think it can be ok

TW/CW:
Rape, Sexual assault, Mental illness, Cancer, Miscarriage, Alcoholism, Domestic abuse, Child abuse, Car accident, Ableism
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This was a fascinating glimpse into the life of Meredith, who hasn’t left her house in over a thousand days.  As the story develops, albeit pretty slowly, you learn why she hasn’t left and about her life in general.  It’s sad and heartwarming at the same time.  The way Meredith has managed to cobble together a life without leaving the house is commendable, especially after all that’s she’s been through.  I almost gave up on this story a few times and I’d be lying if I said that I was glad I didn’t.  I got through it and enjoyed it enough but it wouldn’t have been my first choice.
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My Interest

Home is my favorite place on Earth. I leave it willingly, but I COVID showed I could just stay home. I’d still love to find a job I could do at home, too. And, ironically, Meredith in this story does one job I tried very hard to find.
The Story

At the start of the story we know that Claire hasn’t left her home in more than 1,000 days. She lives in a neat home she owns (pays a mortgage on) with her beloved cat, Fred. She has a sister and mother, and a best friend, Sadie. She is not a true recluse. She has online friends, texts friends, and calls friends. But why?

One day a representative of a caring organization arrives and Tom becomes her friend and we begin to learn how her past makes her present more understandable.
My Thoughts

This book has all the makings of an Oprah book, and you all know my thoughts on those! In spite of that, it was wonderful. Yes, some bad things happened. No, the reader wasn’t made to suffer every horrible detail. Claire is all of us–if such and such had come our way. Thankfully, she had enough support to make it through. I liked Claire–the sort of person I’d love as a friend. I liked her buddy Saddie, too. I felt for her sister. I didn’t feel anything but cold and disgust for ….. [No Spoilers]

 
My Verdict
3.75

Meredith Alone by Claire Alexander

I listened to the audio version.
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Meredith, Alone by Claire Alexander was about how one traumatizing occurrence changed a young woman’s life in a matter of minutes. Meredith and her older sister Fiona were brought up primarily by their mother. Their father left when both girls were quite young. Meredith did not have a warm and loving childhood. Her mother often belittled Meredith and made Meredith feel inferior. She criticized Meredith and put her down constantly. Meredith’s relationship with her older sister was complicated as well. Despite all that, Meredith was a sweet and kind person. Meredith looked forward to the day she could move out of her mother’s house. 

About three years prior to Meredith Maggs fortieth birthday her life changed drastically. Before the drastic change occurred, Meredith had bought a house, had a handsome boyfriend, worked in an office as a writer, visited friends and went out with them socially and spent time with her mother and sister. Then Meredith experienced a trauma that had made her alter her entire existence. 

Meredith had not left her house in 1,214 days. That amounted to a little more than three years. She had not spoken to her mother or sister in all that time either. Even though Meredith no longer left her house, Meredith had established a routine for herself. She now worked remotely from the security and safety of her own home. She had one good friend, Sadie, who she grew up with in Glasgow. Sadie and her two children were still an important presence in Meredith’s life. Sadie visited often and brought Meredith things she was in need of. Meredith chatted with her therapist, Diane, on a weekly basis. Diane was very patient with Meredith but also encouraged her to take baby steps so Meredith could make some progress in altering her present situation. Socially, Meredith looked forward to chatting with her on-line support group. One day, someone named Celeste, joined the on-line support group and she and Meredith connected immediately. Celeste proved to be a good friend and a good influence on Meredith. Then there was Tom who came into Meredith’s life at just the right time. Meredith’s cat, Fred, became her best friend and confidant. She loved to bake and did it quite often. Meredith was content with the life she was living. Leaving her house and facing the outside world brought about extreme anxiety for Meredith. With encouragement from her therapist, an invitation to Celeste’s fortieth birthday party and allowing her sister to enter her life again, Meredith found the courage she needed to move forward and make strides in being able to leave her house finally and join the outside world once again.

Meredith, Alone alternated between present time and the past in a non linear format. As snippets of Meredith’s past were presented, it gave me a better understanding of her situation. Eventually, her trauma was revealed as well. I loved Meredith’s character and wanted to give her a big hug and tell her that everything would turn out alright. Meredith, Alone was Claire Alexander’s debut novel. I can’t wait to see what she writes next. I listened to the audiobook of Meredith Alone that was well narrated by Freya Mavor. Meredith, Alone was about having courage and hope. It was about taking the time to heal in one’s own way and time. Meredith, Alone was also about forming friendships, believing in one another and yourself and mother and daughter relationships. I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook of Meredith, Alone and highly recommend it.

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for allowing me to listen to the audiobook of Meredith, Alone by Claire Alexander through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Meredith, Alone is a powerful, accurate novel about a woman who has chosen to self quarantine after a series of traumatic events have caused her to retreat to a world she finds less overwhelming and more safe. 

The way this novel is organized makes it more enjoyable. You’re in the present with Meredith over 1200 days inside her home, but you get many flashbacks to various incidents and past experiences within Meredith’s life that have brought her here. I feel this organization helped the book be more digestible. The content is heavy so breaking the trauma up and having it gradually introduced made it easier to digest. 

Meredith is such a relatable character. I love that this novel is in first person. I feel like it was accurate, raw and real and being able to be inside her head made it that much more of a statement. 

I was so proud of Meredith by the end of the book, I was cheering her on throughout the entire novel. 

Meredith, Alone is extremely well written and was a very enjoyable read. 

Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for providing and audio ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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It’s always a treat when I read a book set in Scotland, specifically Glasgow. I really like how broad the synopsis of this novel is. It allows the reader to be surprised. It surprised me in delightful ways and in emotional ways. This book took a little bit of a darker turn than I expected from the synopsis. I expected this book to be the MC having this phobia of the outside world with a mix of childhood bullying. This book delved into what growing up with a single (mentally abusive) mother is like. What’s it’s like being the sensitive/naive sibling. And trauma caused from someone you know (keeping it broad on purpose). 
I liked Meredith’s personality. She never tried to be funny or profound. She had her interests and talked about those. I can appreciate someone who loves their hobbies /cat. 
The audiobook for this was great and I’m not just saying that because I like a Scottish accent (although it definitely is a plus). The narration felt cozy, like I was drinking tea with her in her kitchen.
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Loved this one! I listened to the audio book and was immediately invested in the storyline. I highly recommend this one to someone looking for a little deeper of a story.
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Meredith, alone is an equally heartbreaking and joy filled story of hope about a woman learning to live her life again after not leaving her home in over three years. 

The synopsis of this book instantly grabbed my attention, and some of the things it deals with actually hit really close to home, and I was so curious to find out more about Meredith’s life. I flew through this and fell in love with almost every character. Meredith is the type of person I would want to be friends with, and it was so wonderful to experience her journey toward healing and living a full life. She has the best support group and that made me so happy. Everyone deserves to have friends that they can rely on like Meredith does in this book. 

Every time this book would get heavy or dark, I would immediately be pulled back to reality with a funny or happy chapter that followed. Every moment of this book was gripping and I’m so glad I got to read this story. I really appreciated all of the mental health rep and I feel like there is a lot people can learn from this book about themselves and life in general. 

I would say this is one of my favorite stories I’ve read this year. Meredith and her journey will live in my mind for a long time, and I’m grateful for it. 

I would recommend checking trigger warnings before reading. 

Thank you NetGalley for the arc!
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Meredith doesn’t leave her house. The question is why? Her story unfolds in a dual timeline. This story is heartbreaking and then heals your heart. I loved all of the secondary characters too! I loved how they supported Meredith throughout her journey.
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A slow moving, brilliantly written story. The main character, Meredith, is overcome by anxiety following events that have transpired in her life and becomes a recluse subjected to her home. We follow Meredith on her journey toward recovery and wellbeing, uncovering secrets from her past along the way. Truly a wonderful story.
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Really enjoyable.  Similar to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, but enough different to be unique.  (Its been a while since I read Eleanor Oliphant, but I may like Meredith a bit better.)  I really liked Meredith.  (Also Meredith was a fantastic baker; I reviewed the advance read copy (and the audiobook version in particular).  Be prepared for some delicious sounding baked goods.).  It would be truly amazing IF recipes were included in the print version.  

This book covers some heavy topics, and does so respectfully.

Thank you to NetGalley for (yet again) introducing me to a "new to me author".  This review of the advance release audio version of Meredith, Alone is provided in exchange for an honest review.  The narrator/Freya Mavor did an excellent job!  Many thanks to Claire Alexander and Hachette Audio for approving my NetGalley request.  Publication date is Nov 1, 2022.
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This was so sweet and full of hope. The narration was beautiful. 
I felt a lot of this was relatable. I have had some executive dysfunction issues myself. You just cannot do the thing no matter how much you want to. 
but our girl figures it out. I was proud of her. 
Thank you for letting me have an early listen!
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This was reminiscent of All the Lonely People meets Sorrow and Bliss, a honest and poignant portrayal of one woman who is struggling with her mental health, she hasn’t left her home in three years and though functioning within the walls of her home shes left a traumatic past out in the world. This is a beautiful and heart wrenching story about healing, friendship and family.

The characters in this book are so well developed, I couldn’t believe how well the author articulated that feeling of having things together, how appearances aren’t everything and the turmoil that is bubbling beneath the surface. Everyone in this story is struggling with something and even though everyone is orbiting around Meredith’s story I really felt the sense of deep emotion for each one of them. 

These brilliantly woven relationships show the power of connectedness even when it’s not always happy or pretty and that healing comes in many forms. 

This is definitely full of trigger warnings so please ask or do your research and maybe it does fall under that realm of “sad girl fiction” it also has this incredible and soft message of healing. 

Big thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for the advanced listening copy in exchange for an honest opinion, this one is out now, highly recommend.
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Meredith, Alone was a really great insight into someone coping with PTSD and agoraphobia. I really appreciated the various characters, but Meredith has a special place in my heart. This story was inspiring. I also loved all the baking references!
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The mental health rep in this book is beyond compare!! A new to me author, Claire Alexander has created a most memorable character everyone will root for and fall in love with! Meredith is a jigsaw puzzle-loving agoraphobic shut in battling depression. She works remotely and her only company is a cat and her best friend Sadie. 

Estranged from her family due to a serious event we slowly learn about through flashbacks as the story evolves. She also has recently made two new friends online who are helping her find new reasons to try to come out of her isolationism.

There is some serious triggering content so readers should proceed with care if suicide, depression or rape are difficult subjects. Highly recommended for fans of books like Sophie Kinsella's Finding Audrey. Much thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early audio copy in exchange for my honest review!
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