Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

The Diary, by Eileen Gouge

The DiaryThe Diary, Finished audio 6-14-12, rating 3/5, pub. 2009

Unabridged audio 6 hours 30 minutes. Read by Susan Ericksen

Elizabeth Marshall lies in a nursing home after a stroke has left her unresponsive.  Her two grown daughters discover her old diary as they prepare for the worst and pack up their childhood home.  As they read the diary together they discover a mother they never knew, one with hopes, heartbreak, passion, and strength.  The diary describes the two loves of Elizabeth’s life and the ultimate moment when she had to choose between the two.

First, let me quibble with the description provided by the publisher.  The last line is, It’s also the story of the unshakable bond between a mother and her daughters.  Um, no, it’s really not.  The daughters, obviously, knew very little about their mother as a person and there was really no chance for them to recover that lost time except through a series of diary entries that covered only a small portion of their mother’s youth.

This book had three viewpoints, the daughters in current day, their mother’s written entries, and then the detailed story behind each entry which was not in the first person.  I found the jump between the three off-putting.  I liked Elizabeth’s story, but the jumping in and out of it left me less than fully engaged.  I actually started to resent the daughters for intruding on their mother’s story with their boring and clueless observations.  Yes, that seems harsh, but it’s true.  If they had been more compelling characters it may have worked  better for me since Elizabeth was a great character and I’d have rather heard the story straight from her.

Elizabeth’s story was a good one, even if there wasn’t anything terrible original.  The only thing that set it apart is how it was told and while I disliked the jumping between viewpoints it did allow for some much needed suspense at the end. The end was not a complete surprise to me (as it was to those silly daughters) but there were enough questions to want me to keep listening.  Why did Elizabeth end up with stable Bob and not passionate AJ?  Inquiring minds want to know.

I thought it was a solid and enjoyable audio book, but I wasn’t totally into it.  I borrowed the audio book from the library.

June 14, 2012 - Posted by | 3 Star Books |


  1. Completely agree with you. It was an ok book but not a favorite of mine – the ending was a bit hokey. 🙂

    Comment by Brunette LIbrarian | June 14, 2012 | Reply

    • Yeah, I could kind of see the ending coming, just wasn’t sure how she’d get there. Once there, it was a little unsatisfying.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | June 14, 2012 | Reply

  2. I just found this yesterday in my TBR pile and wondered if I should read it, and now I have the answer! yay! :–)

    Comment by rhapsodyinbooks | June 14, 2012 | Reply

  3. I think shifting points of view work better in print than audio, unless there are different narrators for the audio.

    Comment by BermudaOnion | June 14, 2012 | Reply

    • Good point. There was just one narrator so maybe it would have been different in print.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | June 14, 2012 | Reply

  4. I agree with Kathy’s comment. I enjoyed Eileen’s other books more than this one.

    Comment by Nise' (Under the Boardwalk) | June 14, 2012 | Reply

    • I really liked it all but the current day storyline, which is how the story wrapped up. I have another of her books on my shelf and I’ll have to give it a try.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | June 14, 2012 | Reply

  5. Haven’t tried any of her stuff. Great review!

    Comment by hmsgofita | June 14, 2012 | Reply

    • I know it sounded too negative. Sometimes I can’t help myself.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | June 14, 2012 | Reply

  6. I remember when this book came out and read a lot of mixed reviews of it then. Someone also had mentioned that the story didn’t really match up with the description. I can absolutely see how the disjointed characters could make you not feel a connection!

    Comment by Staci Collins Taylor | June 14, 2012 | Reply

  7. Stacey…this one is on my summer reading list. I’ve owned it for several years.

    (sorry, I’m unable to respond to your comments by email…..”no reply message” 😦

    Comment by Diane@BibliophilebytheSea | June 21, 2012 | Reply

  8. I can handle shifting viewpoints but it does help if you care about what some of them are saying and not just one. I love the idea of reading someone’s diary. The nosey poke in me likes stuff like that.

    Comment by Jenners | June 23, 2012 | Reply

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