Whistle In The Dark

Whistle In The Dark

Blurb

Fifteen year old Lana was on an artist's retreat with her mother when she went missing. Four days later she turns up soaking wet and with a variety of injuries. She claims not to remember where she has been but is she telling the truth?

The family return home to London thinking the ordeal is over but Jen is increasingly concerned by her daughters altered behaviour and her reluctance to sleep without the lights on. What happened during the four days she was missing?


Our Review

When I read Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey I was impressed by the way she dealt with some of the more sensitive aspects of living with dementia. Whistle in The Dark deals with some equally sensitive issues and does so equally well.

Whistle in The Dark is not what it may seem on first inspection, it is less about the days Lana was missing and more about the complex relationship between a mother and her daughter.

Fifteen-year-old Lana was on an artist's retreat with her mother when she went missing. Four days later she turns up soaking wet and with a variety of injuries. She claims not to remember where she has been but is she telling the truth?

The family return home to London thinking the ordeal is over but Jen is increasingly concerned by her daughters altered behaviour and her reluctance to sleep without the lights on. What happened during the four days she was missing?

One of the things I liked best about Whistle in The Dark is its portrayal of mental health in young adults and the effect depression can have on an individual and on their family. During the course of the book, it becomes clear that Lana has suffered with depression in the past and that this has led to her cutting herself and to a suicide attempt.

This explanation of Lana’s past goes someway to explaining Jen’s increasingly obsessive behaviour throughout the novel. Obviously, any parent would be concerned at her daughter being missing four days and returning with a fear of the dark and enclosed spaces and a reluctance to talk. Particularly when this same daughter has already been a cause for concern because of her previous mental health.

Having said this, Jen was incredibly frustrating as a character and there were many times I wished I could shout at her to back off and stop being so overbearing.

Meg, Lana’s elder sister, was my favourite character in Whistle in the Dark because offers the reader a more balanced view on the situation. She highlights Jen’s somewhat neurotic behaviour, but she also highlights Lana’s potentially manipulative behaviour as well.

‘We were talking about Lana, ‘Meg said, ‘about the way she affects your mood, the way she has you tiptoeing around her, the way she uses you as a walking frame.”

Lana and Jen obviously had a strained relationship prior to her disappearance for four days and this tension is added to when Jen starts spying on her and stalking her social media accounts in order to discover any information she could about the missing days.

‘What are you thinking about me?’

‘I’m not thinking,’ Jen said. ‘Or at least, I’m trying my best not to think.’

‘Good, because everything you think is wrong.’

That could be the tagline for their relationship Jen thought.

Emma Healey builds a sense of suspense throughout the novel by not immediately revealing what happened during those missing days. I enjoyed the different theories she revealed during the course of the novel and also the way not knowing effects the family.

Whistle in the Dark was thoroughly enjoyable.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 4.2/5

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