Review: Not Lost by Sarah Maria Griffin

This book did not fit any of my challenge criteria


“Memoir is not what this thing is. It is just a true story. Except for the parts that are enormous, staggering lies…”

At once brazen and terrified, Sarah Maria Griffin’s hilarious and beautifully written story opens a doorway into the interior life of the Celtic Tiger cubs who have left Ireland to escape the recession in search of prosperity.

Thrown into life 5000 miles away from home, Sarah’s tale echoes that of many of her generation, forced to forge new lives and build new homes and relationships on distant shores. She describes in open, honest detail her experience of her first year in San Francisco: a year of struggle and strife, of newness and oddness, of adventure and excitement, of loneliness and despair, but also of incredible fun, happiness and joy.

Not Lost is a book about growing up, about friendship, about love, about life and living it well., It is by turns heartbreaking, funny, tender and gutsy. Assured but never cocky, it marks Sarah Maria Griffin as one of the major new voices of her generation.

Image via Goodreads

What I liked:

I’ve emigrated twice myself, and this is a book I could really have found helpful the first time I lived outside of Ireland. It’s a very truthful and realistic account of living away from home, experiencing a new culture, and making it on your own. Some passages, for example Sarah’s day getting lost in San Fransisco with no idea how to get home, definitely reminded me of my first couple of days in Germany, with no real grasp on the language and no clue where my house was.

It also touches on the fear of your family growing up and moving on without you there to experience it too. When I first moved away, my brother was starting college and my cousin had had her first baby, and I felt really strange not to be there while they had these huge life changes.

So much of it is relatable to emigrants. They will for sure find a mirror in the chapter about Sarah and CB coming home for Christmas, and trying to find time to see everyone.

Outside of the themes, this book is incredibly beautifully written. There are some beautiful passages, and one of my favourites is

Don’t be afraid of go, it’s only two letters
Don’t be afraid of no, it’s only two letters.

What I didn’t like:

I really struggle to find a downside to this book. It’s incredible.

Out of five:

Five. This was my first book of Sarah’s, and it was the perfect introduction. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for me.

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