15 February 2014

Review: I CAME TO SAY GOODBYE, Caroline Overington

  • Format: Kindle
  • File Size: 381 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone Digital (September 26, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00D48BT1E

Synopsis (Amazon)

It was a crime that shocked the world.

The CCTV footage shows a young woman pushing through the hospital doors.

She walks into the nursery, picks up a baby and places her carefully in a shopping bag.

She walks out to the car park, towards an old Ford Corolla. For a moment, she holds the child gently against her breast and, with her eyes closed, she smells her.

Then she clips the baby into the car, gets in and drives off. This is where the footage ends.

What happens next will leave a mother devastated, and a little boy adrift in a world he will never understand.

My Take

This is another novel by Caroline Overington that sits on the perimeter of crime fiction. Certainly a crime is committed, probably more the one, but the primary focus of the novel is social issues: parents who fail their children, community services that fail their users, bureaucracy that gets in the way of understanding, systems that leave families and their members in limbo.

Two primary narrators, Med and his daughter Kat, tell the reader about the tragedies that have overtaken their family through letters to a Family Court judge who is to give a ruling about the custody of a child. We learn of Med's struggle to raise his family on his own after his wife walks out when his youngest child is just two. Med does a pretty good job, but, in his own judgement, just not good enough.

The setting is a small coastal town in rural New South Wales. Med's two older children leave, leaving him to raise the younger daughter on his own. 

Underpinning the story, and giving it a biting edge, is criticism of Australian services that should be providing support for families. Clearly bureaucracy gets in the way of empathy, and cost cutting means that services are reduced. And above all, this novel is well constructed, and a really good read.

There are plenty of things to discuss with this novel, and the author provides some further discussion questions after the text.

My rating: 4.7


Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - It sounds like one of those novels that one doesn't just read. One digests them and thinks about them.

Irene said...

A difficult, but perhaps necessary read.

Marg said...

I was introduced to this author last year, and have now read a second book by her and realy enjoy her style and the way that she incorporates important subjects in her boks.

samantha.1020 said...

I definitely want to read this one after reading your review. Sounds like a very intense read!


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