The Truth About Melody Browne is the first novel I read by Lisa Jewell. I thought it was going to be more of a murder mystery/thriller, but it had a quieter suspense.
Melody Browne goes to a hypnotist’s performance, and while there is selected to go on stage and is hypnotized to perform as a 5 year old. Afterwards, Melody is haunted by snippets and whispers of her unremembered childhood. Since she has previously been unable to remember anything in her life prior to the age of 9, Melody takes the surfacing of her memories as an opportunity to hunt down the truth.
“The memories didn’t come in a neat, chronological stream, however. They came in fits and bursts, unconnected to each other, as if someone had taken a pair of scissors to her life, thrown the pieces in the air, and let them float slowly back down to earth, scrap by scrap.”
As a mother, I liked the emotion and relatable content, however I was not prepared for some of the heavier topics in this book. (trigger/content warning: post-partum depression, substance abuse, kidnapping, bullies)
Also, it took me awhile to realize that the “flashbacks” were not actually Melody’s complete memories, rather those sections were for the reader’s knowledge. What Melody remembers is actually in much smaller detail.
Most of the chapters were relatively short and efficient; there were a few sections that were slower but not enough to deter me. Overall, I liked that the writing didn’t have a lot of fluff and tended to get to the heart of the story.
Spoilers related to review: While post-partum depression plays a prominent theme in the story, another theme is how we view acceptable sources of love. Not all families exist in the nuclear family category. Some have a single parent (I’m a single parent), or no children, or more than two parents (of any kinds: polyamorous, divorced and remarried, etc). The story speaks to the issue that sometimes a child is not placed with the person who loves them the most because they are either not related by blood or by contract. Is the “best” home really the one that can provide the most things, or is it the one that is the most full of love? If it can be the latter, what systems are in place to support those families? How do we measure love and sustenance?
If you need support: This blog does not offer medical treatments, diagnoses, or advice. If you or anyone you know is struggling or has concerns about their mental health, check out these resources listed on the National Institute of Mental Health website. An internet search of resources will also yield results specific to your local area.