Title: Matilda is Missing
Author Caroline Overington
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
The Blurb: A story of two warring parents – and the innocent child caught in the middle. Garry Hartshorn and Softie Monaghan were never love’s young dream. Not even on their wedding day. Softie was sophisticated, a career woman, who owned a nice apartment overlooking St KildaBeach. Garry had a few rough edges, plus one failed marriage and an assortment of jobs under his belt. But Softie’s body clock was ticking, and Garry wanted children … So they got married, and produced the only thing they ever had in common. Matilda. Now, two years later, their child is at the centre of a bitter custody battle. Both parents insist that her well-being is the only thing they care about. Yet, in truth, Matilda was always the one most likely to become lost.
My Thoughts: MATILDA IS MISSING is a whole lot more than a custody dispute instead it is a cleverly layered story of two broken marriages and two lots of offspring under dispute; one story, the main focus, being Matilda and her parents, and the other story being that of the son of the narrator. Barry narrates the story and starts by telling the reader how his wife Pat came to be banned from accessing her grandchildren. It is at this point that Barry’s friend Frank – a Family Law Judge – tells Barry he is dying of cancer and asks Barry to look into his last case and remedy the decision. That case is Matilda’s case. Then starts the twists and turns as Barry listens to the psychological interviews and the story of Garry and Softie and why Matilda is missing is slowly revealed. There are no goodies or baddies in the demise of this relationship, each parent has their faults and strengths and both are full of misunderstanding and stubbornness. There is no right or wrong way to raise their child – just different points of view. The role of the Family Law Court is to make a fair decision that has the best interest of the child at heart. However, sometimes things aren’t black or white, sometimes everyone is left hurting, sometimes there are external events that no-one is aware of that can impact. I found that by having Barry gradually divulge the story outside of the legal arena there was no bias and readers could form their own opinions of the parents; and I have to tell you I found my sympathy swinging from one parent to the other as each interview session was heard. I found it hard to put the book down as just as I thought I knew the way it was going to go the story twisted and went in another direction; quite a ride and a very good read.
Rating: B – A really, really good read
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