Five Days Gone

Five Days Gone

The Mystery of My Mother's Disappearance as A Child

Book - 2019
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"In the fall of 1929, when Laura Cumming's mother was three years old, she was kidnapped from a beach on the Lincolnshire coast. There were no screams when she was taken, suggesting the culprit was someone familiar to her, and when she turned up again in a nearby village several days later, she was found in perfect health and happiness. The incident quickly faded from her memory, and her parents did not tell her it took place. To the contrary, they deliberately hid it from her, and she did not learn of it for half a century. It was not the only secret her parents kept from her. For many years, while raising her in draconian isolation and protectiveness, they also obscured that she'd been adopted; that her name changed from Grace to Betty; and that both events occurred in 1929, the same year as the kidnapping on the beach. In Five Days Gone, Laura Cumming brilliantly unspools the tale of her mother's life and unravels the multiple mysteries at its core. Using photographs from the time, historical documents and works of art, she investigates this case of stolen identity with the toolset of a detective and the unique intimacy of a daughter trying to understand her family's past and its legacies. Compulsive, vivid and profoundly touching, Five Days Gone is a masterful blend of memoir and history, an extraordinary personal narrative unlike any other"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, Scribner,, 2019.
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition.
Branch Call Number: 362.8297092 Elsto-C
Characteristics: 301 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm


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Mar 30, 2020

This is a beautifully-written memoir about the author's mother's childhood & a haunting mystery associated with it. I recommend reading a hard copy rather than the e-book format, which I used. Because of the layout of the e-book I found it difficult to distinguish between the times it was written in the mother's voice rather than the author. When I looked at the actual book layout on Amazon, the typographical cues were helpful.

debwalker Jan 20, 2020

When your mother vanishes.

Dec 24, 2019

A beautifully written memoir about the time the author's mother, at age three, disappeared for five days from a beach near her town in England. Her mother didn't hear about this happening until she was an adult. And there were so many other secrets kept from her about her origins and who she was. We do such odd things to those we love through silence and lies, sometimes with the idea that we're doing the right thing, but it seems unconscionable. The author is an art critic who knows how to describe a picture or a painting as if describing a novel.

ArapahoeKati Sep 19, 2019

This is a moving, haunting memoir about family and love, and yet, that doesn't even really describe this. When I wasn't reading this, I was thinking about it. If you love memoirs about family secrets, or you're in the mood for a slow burn with lovely writing, I highly recommend this.

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