Single mothers

Lost to addiction: Loved and Missed, by Susie Boyt, reviewed

Ruth, the narrator of Susie Boyt’s seventh novel, is both the child of a single mother and a single mother herself. Intelligent, quirky and despairingly fastidious, she has tried to bring up her adored daughter in loving orderliness, but the results have been disastrous. By 15, the beautiful, gifted Eleanor is a heroin addict, living in filth and chaos. Before long, she is pregnant with Lily; and Ruth, ‘stodgy with intentions and conventions’, decides to make off with Lily in order to save her baby granddaughter’s life. Or perhaps it is Lily who saves Ruth. ‘People didn’t speak much of the thick currents of emotion that flowed between the single