Welcome to the third meeting of The Grown-Up Girls Report Book Club! I hope you have your cups of tea, or better still – glasses of wine at the ready!!
If you have just found us – then a big welcome to you! This virtual book club is all about getting us grown up girls back into reading while we self-isolate. BC- before children – I used to love reading but the busyness of raising 4 boys and juggling work unfortunately, put that fire out. One of the silver linings of the COVID-19 Pandemic is time – so let’s use it to read!
Our book of the week is The Loudness of Unsaid Things by Aussie author Hilde Hinton and I am joined by my good friend and author Mandy Newman to workshop this intriguing book.
About the Author
Hilde is the sister of Sam and Connie Johnson who created the Love Your Sister Charity. Sadly, Connie passed away in 2017 but her brother Sam continues to work tirelessly to raise money for the cause. And while this book is not autobiographical, there are definitely some parallels between Hilde and the main character Susie.
Like Susie, Hilde grew up in beautiful Daylesford in Victoria with a mother battling mental illness. In fact, Hilde was only 12 when she discovered her mother’s body after she had committed suicide – an event which clearly affected her deeply.
Hilde’s brings her early life experiences of death, grief, guilt, loss and mental illness to this fabulous book. Her warmth and poignancy coupled with the insight she has as a mature author, means this book will tug at your heart, make you cry but also give you a good dose of hope!
Why Alex chose it and Mandy read it?
Alex loved the fact that this is Hilde’s first novel and she is in her 50’s! Whoever said that women in mid life are done was SOOOOO wrong! It’s never too late ladies!!
Both Alex and Mandy were intrigued by the title – it beckons you in! The fact that the novel also deals with mental health and loneliness also interested both ladies. Its setting in Melbourne and Sydney coupled with the 80’s references uwere the final reasons it just had to be read!
Why You Should Read It
This book is a work of ‘great empathy’ – quote from Mandy. It shines a light on mental health, loneliness and friendship in a way that would undoubtedly encourage the reader to rethink their approach to those affected.
The novel focuses on 2 characters: Susie and Miss Kaye who each have a distinctive voice. Susie is a young spirited girl whose mother battles mental health issues. The story explores her journey to adolescence armed with the baggage and trauma of a family member who is unwell. Miss Kaye works at a psychiatric institute for women. Described as ‘the Institute’, it is ‘a place for the damaged, the outliers, the not-quite-rights.’
This is a heartwarming read that has the ability to start a conversation about mental health and loneliness. It provides a window into a life that many of us might now know anything about. And for those who have experienced mental illness or have a family member who has – then this book will remind you that ‘you are not alone’ to quote the words of the great CS Lewis.
Alex and Mandy think this book is definitely worth reading and that it would make a great addition to a high school book list.
You can listen to the podcast via your favourite podcast app, or by clicking on the link below.
Thanks so much for being part of our book club!