Review: Do Not Become Alarmed

Do Not Become Alarmed

Do Not Become Alarmed
By Maile Meloy
Riverhead Books, Hardcover, 9780735216525, June 6, 2017, 352pp.

The Short of It:

One bad decision leads to another and suddenly three families find themselves dealing with a nightmare while vacationing in Central America.

The Rest of It:

On a cruise to Central America, two families who also happen to be related to each other head off on an excursion while the husbands play a game of golf. On their way there, there is an accident and they, along with one other family find themselves stranded on a beach while waiting for alternate transportation. They have an experienced guide, so what could go wrong? Lots.

Sometimes you read a book because it’s just fun to read and that’s the case with Do Not Become Alarmed. It’s fast-paced, deals with a topic that every mother dreads, and leads you all over the place before arriving at its final destination.

At one point in the story I got VERY mad and I do not forgive the author for going there. Sorry, no. I do not. Right after that event, the story stopped being believable to me. The last quarter of the story was a bit of a stretch. However, reading it wasn’t a bad way to spend the afternoon and that quibble I had didn’t affect how quickly I turned the pages.

If you throw this in your beach bag or take it on an airplane, you’ll be glad you did because of the fast pace at which the story is told. It holds your attention.  Even though one event in the story will likely upset you as much as it did me, I still recommend it for its entertainment value.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

27 thoughts on “Review: Do Not Become Alarmed”

  1. I found this book a total page-turner. Like you, I did have issues with a couple parts. But, all in all, what a read.

    1. I read this particular part no less than three times thinking the entire time, “Really? You had to go there?”

  2. I’m also really curious about what made you so mad! I passed on this one after reading so many negative reviews dealing with the parents stupidity and as you said the unbelievability of the plot

    1. The story is believable. Something like this could happen on vacation but the way it unfurls is not.

      And the thing that made me mad?? If you want, I will tell you in a private email.

  3. Sounds like a major divergence in writing style and direction from her two previous short story collections which I really enjoyed, slow and deep. Now a page-turner and incredulous plot lines? Not sure if I want to go there.

    1. That’s interesting. I was not aware of anything else she’s written. Don’t get me wrong, it is a page-turner and if you are looking for that, because sometimes we are, then it’s good for that. I felt that the last fourth of the book could have been stronger though.

      1. Meloy is an award winning author. I really enjoyed her short stories in Both Ways is the Only Way I Want it and Half in Love, deceptively simple but thought-provoking in a slow-burning way. Three stories from these volumes were made into a 2016 film, ‘Certain Women’, directed by Kelly Reichardt, with Laura Dern, Michelle Williams and Kristen Stewart. Now I get it. Meloy may just be writing this new book intending for another movie, not an artsy indie like her previous one, but a Cineplex ‘Gone Girl’ kind of a blockbuster. Umm, yes, maybe I’ll write a review of ‘Certain Women’ next, and pick up this new Meloy book. Thanks for sharing it. 🙂

        1. I can totally see this being made into a movie so you are probably right. It does fit the typical “summer” read requirements though too so the timing is good for it as well.

  4. Sometimes these are the books you need. I always read books like this when I’m in a rut- they tend to get my reading flow back on track. Sounds like this is one to add to my TBR for that kind of read 🙂

    1. Yep. I am not a big traveler but taking my kids out of the country kind of freaks me out. Well, depending on the country. The premise is terrifying. It’s a quick read. Gives you stuff to think about.

  5. I think there is something wrong with me when the comment that something made you so mad that you cannot forgive the author makes me want to read the book even more than I did before I read your review.

    1. I’d be the same way. And, another blogger told me that my issue with it was not mentioned on Goodreads anywhere. I did have a review copy so I wonder if that part was cut out in the final version.

  6. This one seems quite the rage this summer. I think for a quick beach read I will throw it into my bag. I liked your review.

    1. You will probably have some strong thoughts about it but it’s very much a page turner. I just finished The Party by Robyn Harding. That review posts on Thursday but it’s a must read.

    1. A few others didn’t note the part I did so now I am wondering if they took it out of the final print. Mine was a review copy.

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