Countless by Karen Gregory #nspBookClub
Buy it here
From Amazon: ‘Is there anything that’s concerning you?’ Felicity says. ‘College, home, boyfriends?’ Though she’s more or less smiling at this last one.
I don’t smile. Instead, I feel my face go hot. Silence stretches as wide as an ocean.
When I look up, Felicity has this expression on her face like she’s just seen Elvis. Slowly, she leans forward and in a gentle voice I’ve never heard her use before she says, ‘Have you done a pregnancy test?’
When Hedda discovers she is pregnant, she doesn’t believe she could ever look after a baby. The numbers just don’t add up. She is young, and still in the grip of an eating disorder that controls every aspect of how she goes about her daily life. She’s even given her eating disorder a name – Nia. But as the days tick by, Hedda comes to a decision: she and Nia will call a truce, just until the baby is born. 17 weeks, 119 days, 357 meals. She can do it, if she takes it one day at a time …
Heartbreaking and hopeful by turns, Karen Gregory’s debut novel is a story of love, heartache and human resilience. And how the things that matter most can’t be counted. Perfect for fans of Lisa Williamson, Non Pratt and Sarah Crossan.
I like Hedda. She’s not someone who’d like me, I’m sure. However, I admire the hard work she put into looking after her daughter, her independence against all odds, and most importantly, knowing when she needs help.
I like the ineffability of the eating disorder and while uncomfortable to read, I am fascinated about the thought process surrounding food.
Robin, subconsciously became a bloke I dated called Robin. Which didn’t help as I pilled all my characterisation onto him; which doesn’t fit the role he plays in the narrative. It’s a shame, because of my own experiences, it meant Robin didn’t jell within the book. Stupid, stupid me.
The plot has a wonderful structure that follows Hedda from her discovery to her recovery.
Through the 300 odd pages, she meets Robin and faces obstacles in her relationship; family, friends and food.
The integration of numbers is wonderful addition to the plot; it’s subtle and charming.
It was so refreshing that while there was a hint of romance, it’s not the driving force of the plot. Almost as if it occurred organically, rather than a plot point Karen Gregory pinned the rest of the story around.
I found the narrative voice tired and battle weary. It’s amazing how language can do that. Despite the first-person narration, I couldn’t put myself in Hedda’s shoes. I could empathise, and I wanted to reach out and help. Luckily, I was able to step back from what would be a gut wrenching feeling had I been sucked in.
The personification of Hedda’s eating disorder does not simply end at her naming it; it’s physical description and voice is something out of Legend. A demon, haunting Hedda until she could fight it.
Don’t forget to join Zoe on Saturday 7th September 2017 at 6pm when she runs the No Safer Place Book Club.