I am very pleased to be part of the launch celebrations for Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy.
Published by Penguin on 6th July 2017, Do Not Become Alarmed is available for purchase through the publisher links here.
Do Not Become Alarmed
When Liv and Nora decide to take their husbands and children on a holiday cruise, everyone is thrilled. The ship’s comforts and possibilities seem infinite. But when they all go ashore in beautiful Central America, a series of minor mishaps lead the families further from the ship’s safety.
One minute the children are there, and the next they’re gone.
What follows is a heart-racing story told from the perspectives of the adults and the children, as the distraught parents – now turning on one another and blaming themselves – try to recover their children and their shattered lives.
My Review of Do Not Become Alarmed
When three families head off on a cruise there will be much more to remember about the holiday than they could possibly imagine – or want.
I am aware that Do Not Become Alarmed has received some mixed reviews and has rather polarised readers. For the first twenty pages or so of Do Not Become Alarmed I didn’t think I was going to enjoy the read. It felt slightly flat. However, I now believe this was a deliberate calm before the storm as the rest of the book is fast paced, terrifying in its possibilities and frequently brutal. The opening pages reflect a kind of superior complacency held by the protagonists and become pride before a fall.
I thought the characterisation was incredibly interesting. I didn’t really like any of the main characters except Sebastian, but I was fascinated by them in the same way I imagine others were fascinated by Benjamin in the world of celebrity. I think they were a perfect study in complacent, opinionated, wealthy individuals who don’t really appreciate the lives many others endure. In a way, I felt what happened to them was an allegorical tale of what such attitudes can lead to and I thought this was brilliantly handled. I preferred the more minor individuals, especially those unwittingly caught up the events happening to the children and felt this showed just how others can trample over less fortunate people without even realising.
Having visited the kind of countries described, I can easily imagine how the events in Do Not Become Alarmed occur. I found the story line totally convincing. I really didn’t want to stop reading because I was desperate to know what happened. When the book ended I was left wanting more and felt it stopped rather abruptly, but that did have the effect that I can’t stop thinking about it and wondering what might become of them all, especially Imogen.
I went from being not especially impressed by Do Not Become Alarmed initially to completely enthralled and intrigued by it. I thought Do Not Become Alarmed was a very clever thriller and one which I recommend most highly.
About Maile Meloy
Maile Meloy is the author of the novels Liars and Saints (which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and chosen for the Richard and Judy book club) and A Family Daughter, the short-story collections Half in Love and Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It, and the award-winning Apothecary trilogy for young readers. She has received the PEN/Malamud Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was chosen as one of Granta‘s Best Young American Novelists. She lives in Los Angeles.