While My Eyes Were Closed
by Linda Green
About the book...
One, two, three......
Lisa Dale shuts her eyes and counts to one hundred during a game of hide-and-seek. When she opens them, her four-year-old daughter Ella is gone. Disappeared without a trace. The police, the media and Lisa's family all think they know who snatched Ella. But what if the person who took her isn't a stranger? What if they are convinced they are doing the right thing? And what if Lisa's little girl is in danger of disappearing forever?
About the author...
Linda Green is an award-winning journalist and has written for the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday and the Big Issue. She has worked for the Birmingham Bureau of Children's Express, a national charity promoting learning through journalism and is a qualified creative writing tutor. While My Eyes Were Closed is her seventh novel. Linda lives in West Yorkshire with her husband and their son.
Lisa Dale and Ella, her four year old daughter are enjoying an afternoon in the park. Firstly, Ella wants to show her mum how she can climb to the top of the big slide on her own and secondly, to prolong the trip by playing her favourite game of hide and seek.
Lisa, like many mums is juggling a working life with that of being a mum. Linda Green with very little text gives an inkling as to why Lisa is so driven to do well for herself and provide for her family. Growing up on the wrong side of town, always feeling she needs to prove herself appears to be the driver behind her need to excel. She gives two hundred percent to her job, sadly at the expense of spending lots of time with her children. It's this guilt that has her agreeing to just one more game, a decision she lives to regret. Whilst taking a work call in the middle of the game her daughter disappears.
So begins the worst nightmare of every mothers life.
Linda Green has written a book that will make you think. Can there ever be a reason to kidnap a child? In this case, apparently so. Her abductor took her to save her, thinking Ella would be better cared for than with her own family. After all - what sort of mother chats on the phone whilst someone calming walks out of the park with their child - an unfit one that's what!!
I never thought I would feel pity and empathy for someone who abducted a child. But, somehow I do now! Linda Green showed that there is always two sides to a story. In this sort of scenario we would normally only get to hear about the anguish of the family who have lost a child. In this book we get to hear from the side of the abductor too. There's always a reason for our actions, it doesn't make it right, but there is always a reason behind everything we think and do in life.
In While My Eyes Were Closed, Linda Green proves there is no love like the love a parent feels for their child, it really is quite unique. Most of us have said or thought we'd do anything to protect our children and throughout this book that premise is demonstrated over and over again by several characters, not just by Ella's mum Lisa. When a mother loses a child in any circumstances, grief and emotions run high. Emotions can cause people to act out of character and behave in ways which are totally irrational and unthinkable in normal circumstances.
The story switches back and forth between the kidnapper story and Ella's family. Linda Green gives a really perceptive insight into the tensions and emotions from both sides. My inner voice firstly berated, then felt pity and sadness for both sides, alternatively throughout the whole novel.
I feel it's wrong to say I loved this book because as a mother the storyline is just unthinkable - only in my worst nightmare. But, I did. I loved this book. Because of Linda Green and her writing style. She presented the facts without over dramatising or filling the pages with too much unnecessary detail in a balanced way that was more thought provoking than any book I've read for quite a while. Tensions run high on both sides.
I fully engaged with all the characters and by the end of the book I wanted the best outcome for everyone. Even the suspects. Some crimes are never spent and the lives of those people trying to forge new beginnings can be almost impossible. Sadly, we all form opinions and judge and we're not always right to do this.
I highly recommend this book and have personally recommended it to so many of my friends already. I can't wait for my next read by Linda Green.