Missing Reels was an interesting read for me because I love the idea of silent movies if not the actually having to sit down and watch them if that makes any sense. Our main character loves all things vintage but especially the movies and the clothes. Ceinwen is living in a rather spotty New York neighborhood with two roommates and working at a vintage clothing store when she discovers her elderly downstairs neighbor Miriam once stared in a lost silent film. And when I say discover it takes an unwanted Christmas gift and maybe a little drinking on Miriam’s part because Ceinwen is sweet but pushy and annoying.
Miriam’s story involves not just a lost film but also a tragic love story and that really gets Ceinwen going. She’s going to find a copy of that film and no one’s going to stand in her way.
Don’t get me wrong I liked this book. Ceinwen was a fun character- an airhead but still totally likeable. She’s also forever having to explain her name which kind of bugged me. Should have just called her Kate… but she has charm to spare which worked considering she was running roughshod over a whole lot of people. Even Miriam doesn’t want the film found. She doesn’t want to be disappointed in case it doesn’t live up to her memory.
That was something that really interested me about the book- are we just romanticizing lost films, art or overall pieces of the past. We remember things how we are not necessarily how they were and if we can’t be confronted with the truth then we don’t have to face it. Do we ever remember anything as it was? I won’t say whether Ceinwen succeeds or not but for me I will say I found the ending overwhelmed by the conclusion of her love story with Matthew who I liked less and less as the book goes on. Matthew- a snob with a girlfriend who liked pointing out Ceinwen’s flaws (which did not include sleeping with a guy who had a girlfriend) but I overreact. It’s just one of those ‘romances’ recently in books that I really don’t find the least bit romantic.
Recommend: Hey, it’s worth a read for everyone but if you’re into old films you’re especially going to like the artistic debates and the talk about the process of restoring them. The author Farran Smith Nehme has a blog called the Self-Styled Siren that I really enjoyed so you can always check that out as well.