I’m currently reading this amazing book, Hello, I Must Be Going, by Christie Hodgen. It’s about this girl whose father, a Vietnam war veteran, shot himself in the head due to depression after coming home from the war. The entire story is about her and her family (a younger brother Teddy, and her mother) trying to get over his death. But it’s no sob story. Frankie, that’s the female protagonist of the story, is a cynical but funny girl who has lost direction in life ever since her father died. Going through a slew of well-meaning school counsellors and guidance counsellors, she struggles to cling on to the past as her brother grows to become rebellious and her mother, negligent.

Hodgen’s writing is lyrical, poignant (I’ve always yearned to write like this), and heartbreakingly funny. The reader may think the narrator’s fine, judging by her voice, but there are undercurrents of sadness and cynicism in life that makes you empathise with her (she’s only 12! She shouldn’t be losing hope in the world, in life, just yet!). Through a series of prose, Hodgen strings together a coherent and moving chronicle of a family trying to smooth itself over its loss.

I am so going to read her other novel, A Jeweller’s Eye for Flaw.


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