8 February 2013

Review: THE MISTAKE, Wendy James

  • Published by the Penguin Group Australia 2012
  • ISBN 978-1-921901-04-1
  • 280 pages
  • Source: my local library
Synopsis (Penguin Australia)

We all have secrets . . . 

Jodie Garrow is a teenager from the wrong side of the tracks when she falls pregnant. Scared, alone and desperate to make something of her life, she adopts out the baby illegally – and tells nobody.

Twenty-five years on, Jodie has built a new life and a new family. But when a chance meeting brings the adoption to the notice of the authorities, Jodie becomes caught in a nationwide police investigation, and the centre of a media witch hunt.

What happened to Jodie's baby? And where is she now? The fallout from Jodie's past puts her whole family under the microscope, and her husband and daughter must re-examine everything they believed to be true.

My Take

This is another fascinating read from Australian author Wendy James. (I read WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? last year).

Jodie Garrow kept a secret about her first baby, Elsa Mary, for twenty four years. When her teenage daughter Hannah breaks her leg on a school excursion she is hospitalised by chance at the very hospital where Jodie gave birth to her first child. Hannah shares a genetic characteristic with the earlier baby, and by chance a nurse at the hospital recognises this and then recognises Jodie. Thus begins the chain of events that leads to the investigation of what happened to baby Elsa Mary Evans.

Wendy James really enables the reader to see events from Jodie's point of view. When the hospital nurse searches the records for Elsa Mary's birth certificate and fails to find it, she notifies the authorities and then it becomes a police matter.  Jodie and her husband take the step of publicly searching for the baby and so Jodie's story becomes public knowledge. What happens to Jodie and her family is frequently compared to what happened in real life to Lindy Chamberlain in the disappearance of Azaria.

As I said earlier, a fascinating read, well worth your attention.

My rating: 4.8

See Bernadette's review


Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - Oh, I liked this one very, very much myself. What a multi-layered look at the power of gossip, rumour and groupthink. And James does I think a very effective job of depicting the effect of everything on Jodie's family. Yes, this one's a good 'un and I'm glad you liked it.

Kathy D. said...

Found this to be an unputdownable book. Character studies are at the heart of it, of Jodie, her spouse, her teenaged daughter, and how a crisis affects each of them.

The author does a very good job of pulling in the reader and not letting her go until the last page is turned.

Framing girl said...

The title alone pulls you in and make you want to read this. The mistake? A mistake?? What mistake?

Canvas Online said...

The mistake was picking this book up in the first place.

Could not put it down. Excellent read.


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