Book Review: Fateful Decisions

Book Review

Fateful Decisions by Enid O’Dowd reaches deep into parental psyche to detail what happens to a parent when their children or loved ones go missing.

At the beginning of Fateful Decisions we are introduced to Molly, our protagonist, who details the mental anguish of loss. Molly and Jeff, a presumably happy couple expecting their first child, thought they had it all until one day Jeff collapsed during training for a charity run. Jeff was “seriously sporty and completed two marathons” but even that wasn’t enough to stop sudden cardiac arrest. Molly later miscarries, obviously distraught, turns her attention to cases of missing children, acting as a self-declared Miss Marple charting the web for stories.

From here, the author details a string of incidents regarding missing children and what effect individual cases have on parents and families. We hear of a mother called Carli, who is described within the book as having an apparent fixation on her own vanity. Carli, the mother of a young boy named Tommy, is on her way to get her hair done when she decides to leave her child with horrific consequences. As she heads back to the car young Tommy has disappeared. Then there’s the young girl named Rose who goes missing from her own bedroom and the story of a fictional Junior Minister for Transport who dies in his sleep.

Not all of the stories are fiction; in two narratives – the cases of Hailey Dunn and Madeline McCann – the author mixes non-fiction and fiction in a slightly confusing move. This approach means that the author has to balance many contentious narratives, all vying for some attention and clarity.

With that said, the storyline is quite interesting throughout, leaving any reader with a breath of knowledge about each story. The book deals with bereavement, individual struggles and an ongoing quest by the author to uncover something that perhaps has been missed.

Available locally from Books on the Green, Sandymount for €17.99. Also available as an ebook.

Reviewed by Liam Cahill