I have just finished reading “Watch Me Disappear” by Jill Dawson.
The blurb reads:
“A ten-year-old girl vanishes without trace from a Fenland village, her body never found. Thirty years on, she comes sharply back to life in the mind’s eye of her childhood friend, Tina Humber, who has done her best to put the past behind her. But now, as Tina returns home for a family wedding, she replays her memories in search of what happened, fearing that deep down she has always known who killed Mandy Baker.
In this subtle, moodily atmospheric novel, Jill Dawson explores the line between innocent and perverted desire, and that volatile stage when young girls become away of their attractions, but do not grasp the dangers.”
It’s a really creepy novel, with descriptions of some disturbing events. At times, one can’t be sure what is real and what is Tina’s fantasy.
She seems to have a lot of “funny turns” where she lapses into a state of mind where she is bombarded by memories from her childhood. Leaving her young daughter and husband in her new home in America, she visits her old childhood home village when her brother gets married and being home triggers her memories of her missing friend, Mandy.
Her dad seems to be the main source of her unhappy childhood, with rumours and his strange behaviour, especially as he seems to have a thing for young girls. We see how she was his favourite child, but there are many disturbing comments which he makes in her flashbacks, which make you realise that she could have easily been abused by him. She never acknowledges whether or not something happened.
Tina as a young girl was intrigued by desires and sex and we read about her experiences, and how boys and men like girls, but she isn’t as intrigued by men as they are by her.
The novel deals with a lot of important issues, but never really gets interesting. I found it disturbing and uncomfortable at times, but mainly it’s just a jumbled mess of the present and the past blurring together. The narrator seems to be in a foggy state: nothing seems that clear. It’s easy enough to read but the story doesn’t go anywhere and I was a bit bored by the end. I give it 5/10 because it deals with an important phase in a girl’s development into an adult, but it doesn’t really go anywhere.