Review: I Came to Say Goodbye by Caroline Overington

I Came to Say Goodbye by Caroline Overington

With thanks to Mamamia and Random House for providing this book.

It was four o’clock in the morning.

A young woman pushed through the hospital doors. Staff would later say they thought she was a new mother, returning to her child – and in a way, she was.

She walked into the nursery, where a baby girl lay sleeping. The infant didn’t wake when the woman placed her gently in the shopping bag she had brought with her. There is CCTV footage of what happened next, and most Australians would have seen it, either on the internet or the news.

The woman walked out to the car park, towards an old Corolla. For a moment, she held the child gently against her breast and, with her eyes closed, she smelled her.

She then clipped the infant into the car, got in and drove off.

That is where the footage ends. It isn’t where the story ends, however. It’s not even where the story starts.

This book is a series of letters from Med (not Ned, Med with an M, short for Meredith) the head of the Atley family. It starts at the point he meets his future wife, goes through their children being born and leaving the family nest.  He is very honest in his observations of his family and all their ‘problems’, but he does struggle with being the father of a teenage daughter, and he doesn’t know the best way of dealing with situations that come up.  Things end up getting out of his control and some extremely sad things are revealed and dealt with.  His letters cover how hard the health system is to deal with, and how frustrated people are on both sides of the social working fence.

Med’s daughter Kat takes over writing the letters about half way through and covers the horrifically sad part of the family’s ordeal, she doesn’t necessarily fill in any blanks, but manages to cover and expand on the hardest and incredibly sad part of the family’s journey. And as this is the first time we hear from her it also shows her journey as a young woman born in a small country town who wants so much more to life than being a country kid.

This book covers how messed up and confusing the Department of Children’s Services can be, it had me in tears in a few sections, simply because you know that is actually ‘real’ and not just a work of fiction, and this is one book that actually had me throw it across the room in shock and horror. It is extremely well written and I would highly recommend this book to all. It is a complex book on family and government, and asks the question who comes first, family or individuals?

A copy supplied by www.mamamia.com.au and Random House Publishing.

Highly recommended reading. Rating 4.5/5.

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2 Responses to Review: I Came to Say Goodbye by Caroline Overington

  1. Caroline Overington says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read the book, and for your kind words.

  2. Thank you for taking the time to visit my humble little blog! Now I feel super special. Helen xx

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