The Last Time We Spoke- Fiona Sussman

A book published this year….

So, the year is 2016 and I found this book in the new releases at the library. The choice was based on this fact and that I liked the look of the front cover. It looked deep, with substance and it is an award winning book. I was hooked from the beginning although it wasn’t a pleasant start to a story.

The book is about 2 very different families. On the one had is Carla and Kevin Reid and their long awaited and deeply loved, successful son Jack. On the other hand is Ben, who was born to a loving but misguided Mum who is abused and who, initially wanted the best for her ever growing brood but through circumstance and her emotionally drowning life has lost her way. Ben, her eldest son has also lost his way and has become involved in gang culture. One night Ben and a mate is high on drugs and break into the Reid household, causing havoc and completely destroying lives of the happy family. The rest of the story is about Carla’s brave struggle to find some light and hope to move forward in her life, somehow, and through perseverance and deep struggles she does manage to, in her own way.

It is a really touching book and Ben’s story is so current for many of the problems in society today. My husband and I have worked with such a range of children and young adults and have experience and some understanding of how this can happen, how broken homes, drug addictive and neglectful parenting negatively sets these children up. It can never be emphasised enough how critical a stable home life is. No matter who the role models are, children need to feel  safe and secure to flourish. The story line Fiona has created is SO unfair. It is so devastatingly unfair that I was almost in tears after the first pages and I really felt myself there in the house with Carla. Why? How can it ever be ok for anybody to completely shatter the lives of others for nothing more than petty personal gain. I wanted to be there with Carla to help her through, as I would anybody going through such trauma but it was only Carla herself who could find her way out of the turmoil and heartbreak. Her choices and endless strength to face Ben head on began her healing process.

I wouldn’t recommend this book for anybody after a light , pick-me-up read but it really is worth a read even if it is just to remind yourself how lucky you are and to appreciate what you have.

4/5

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