Review of “Gone”, by Julie Elizabeth Powell


Charley has immersed herself in her work on a daily basis, driving herself hard to keep her mind on the business of work. To her, it’s an anesthetic–a way to keep from having to deal with her emotions. But nothing can deaden the sharp pain of those visitation hours, when she would see her comatose daughter, withering away under countless tubes and machines. For seventeen years, nothing has changed.

Until the day Charley enters Avalon.

One moment she is at her desk, and the next she is transported, like Alice through the looking glass, to a different world where none of the standard rules apply. What she experiences in this strange land, this afterlife of sorts, is in turn enchanting, thrilling, and frightening. Through it all, Charley is led by enigmatic characters, one of whom she knows only too well, in a quest to find what she needs in order to return to her previous life.

But not just the drone-like busyness of what she has formed around her as a protective shell against the pain of reality. She is not allowed to return until she is fully human again. And this quest forces herself to answer many questions, the most important of which is, can I forgive myself?


A line from the author’s autobiography does well to set the mood for this book:

“…it wasn’t until the tragic event that overtook her third child that she stopped throwing (her stories) away, feeling the words had to settle and grow until a novel sprang full enough to flower. Gone is the result.”

And in another place: “One question haunted the author throughout those terrible years: Where had her daughter gone?”

This book is one answer to the question.

“Gone” is a fictionalized account of the author’s emotional and spiritual struggle with what happened in her daughter’s life, and thusly her own. Drawn from deep emotions and turned into an incredible tale, this book calls the reader to a deeper understanding of a spiritual world (in this case tending more toward the secular) that is beyond our grasp here on this mortal coil.

Fantastic book, especially for those grieving a loss. I highly recommend it.

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