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Matilda Is Missing

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  425 ratings  ·  56 reviews
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 Kilda Beach. 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, a
Published October 3rd 2011 by Random House (first published September 28th 2011)
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Rachael Johns

Aside from the fact Matilda Is Missing is quite different from the books I usually read, I adored the subject and the way the story of one custody battle was told by a man very closely involved in another battle - that of his wife vs his son's ex-wife. His wife is a cracker of a character, who goes to extremes beyond what most people would but she loved her grandchildren so you could understand where she was coming from.

ALL of the characters are I feel sympathetic, bar one man perha
Helen McKenna
Softie and Garry are from two different worlds. She is an accomplished career woman from a middle class background and he grew up in foster care after a horrific childhood incident and takes life very much as he finds it. They were never really suited for one another, but Softie went against her better judgement and settled. Why? Because she was approaching 40 and desperately wanted a child. In hindsight she knows it was the wrong decision, yet at the time Garry was there and available. And like ...more
Caroline Overington is a fascinating writer - she has a great ability to show the reader an issue and then keep us in suspense over what we should think about the characters and I really enjoy her ability to write male voice which is believable. I struggled a little with this book as the two main characters Softie and Gary are so unlikeable and incompatible as a couple. Despite this fact (which they are both aware of) they decide to have a child - unsurprisingly the marriage falls apart and they ...more
3.5 stars
Caroline Overington is a fabulous author. She writes about current social issues and keeps the reader on the edge of the seat. She has written some of my five star books for this year. However, I did feel that this one wasn't up there to be rated the same.

The story revolves around a bitter custody battle between Softie and Garry. The story is told from both points of view, but through taped recordings, which is very clever and I was surprised how well that actually worked.

Undeniably w
I couldn't put this book down. Via counsellor's tapes(unlikely but effective!) we hear alternate first-hand accounts from each of the parents, Softie Monaghan and Garry Gary, as to how they came to be in court fighting for custody of their two year old daughter, Matilda. It’s left to Barry, a good-hearted, pragmatic Footscray working class bloke in his sixties, to work out how the hell the court subsequently got it all so wrong, and how to put things, if not right, slightly less disastrously.
An example of one of those books where you're reading it, waiting for the plotline to kick in, and 300-odd pages later the book ends.

Whilst it was a good, easy read, I felt that the plotline could have been taken a lot further, a lot earlier. It also doesn't help that so many of the characters we're meant to sympathise with are so utterly awful.
its interesting insite into a topic I know nothing about...and it makes you wonder how you come out the other side sane..very realistic writing...makes you feel like you are living it with them...
This is my first book from this author and I loved it. In fact I sat up until after midnight and read it in one sitting. The story just flowed from one chapter to the next and there never seemed to be a suitable moment to put the book down. The theme of the book is marriage breakups and how they affect all members of the extended family. The main characters' story is told as a series of taped conversations with the Family Court counsellor and they really show the worst side of two people fightin ...more
Paula  Phillips
Reading the blurb of the book compared to the book itself will prepare you for only half of the story , a snippet that doesn't get revealed till halfway through the novel. From the title and the synopsis , I had a whole different view of what the novel would be like and about and as I turned the first page , I would be in for a shock. The novel starts not with Gary, Softie and Matilda but in fact with an entirely different family named "the Harrisons". Husband and Wife , Pat and Barry Harrison. ...more
Bree T
Garry and Softie were an unlikely couple from the start. Softie had a job at a national bank and owned her own flat in St Kilda, near the beach. Garry had drifted from job to job and worked driving taxi’s when they met one night at a ‘pop up restaurant’. Softie was getting to the stage where her biological clock was ticking and she didn’t have too many years left in which to have a baby. And Garry, well, he’d been married before, but too young and it didn’t work out. He thinks he’s ready for a f ...more
This year as you would have read in an earlier blog I am participating in the Australian Woman Writers Challenge. I noticed last year that up to then I really had not read many books by Australian woman and started too read them, and loved it. So this year with my reading there will be a definite effort in reading more by Aussie Women.

My first Aussie Writer of the year is Caroline Overington, I have read her work in the paper on and off so knew that I would like her style, and when I read the b
Careful.... I've tried to be obtuse but you may consider some of my comments borderline Spoilers!
Once I got going on this I couldn't put it down. This is my first Caroline Overington novel and I did enjoy it! I wonder whether her other books are written with such a colloquial Australian 'voice'?
I have to admit to not really liking Garry Gary OR Softie Monaghan very much, despite being able to relate to certain situations and emotions described throughout the book. I could empathise with both of
Susie Amiatu
I'm giving this two stars as I reserve one star for novels that I am unable to finish, but needless to say I did not enjoy this novel. I found it to be unnecessarily drawn out, the dialogue was incredibly irritating, neither central character had any endearing qualities, and the story was predictable. I read it for the book club I attend and I will be honest that it is not from a genre I would voluntarily read. The only saving grace was that it was very easy reading.
Interesting premise but it drags on

This book has an interesting premise, and a good twist at the end, but the middle drags on WAY too long. The mother was a completely unsympathetic character, and the characters that seemed most interesting (Barry, the judge, and even Garry) don't get fleshed out very well. Good in the beginning but really dragged in the middle -I finally gave up and skipped to the end.
From the moment I picked up 'Matilda is missing' I couldn't put it down. Great, great book. I loved the way it was written. Discovering the story at the same time as the person telling the story was very clever and added to the enjoyment of the book. The story was very engaging and really allowed you to feel the emotions of both parents. Wonderful, wonderful Australian author I can't wait to read more.
Caroline Overington is a fascinating writer - she has a great ability to show the reader an issue and then keep us in suspense over what we should think about the characters and I really enjoy her ability to write male voice which is believable. I struggled a little with this book as the two main characters Softie and Gary are so unlikeable and incompatible as a couple. Despite this fact (which they are both aware of) they decide to have a child - unsurprisingly the marriage falls apart and they ...more
Another great read from Caroline Overington, again written in such a quintessentially Australian voice and about a very 'real' situation, although I would have to say this was my least favourite of the three novels she's written so far, only because I had found the 'twist' towards the end to be slightly predictable and without quite the same impact as the endings of Ghost Child and, particularly, I Came to Say Goodbye. I appreciated the disparity between the lack of resolution in the Garry/Softi ...more
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Sallyann Van leeuwen
First of all, I really Iike the tone of Caroline's books, the conversational tone. It really gives you a connection to the story. Her first two books, I read in a couple of sittings, as I was lost in the story. This one, not so much. I didn't find the conclusion very strong, I wanted more. The similarities between the parallel lines were interesting, and I loved the Melbourne setting and landmarks. When families breakdown, grandparents can suddenly find themselves on the outer. Once, relied upon ...more
Donna Mumberson
easy reading, ideal for a holiday book but it has a dissapointing ending, I feel ripped off at the lack of conclusion on one of the matters and the rushed conclusion on the other.
Good storyline - many years ago 2 children are abandoned by their mother and go into care (with the nuns in the sixties, scary stuff!). Fast forward to the present day and a retired man is bequeathed the files of a custody case in which his friend, the judge, believes he ruled wrongly. It turns out the abandoned boy is the father in the case and with several twists and turns the book comes to its difficult conclusion. Good so far. BUT, it just wasn't written all that well. It's the sort of story ...more
Lauren Dean
I thought this book was just OK. Having read her previous books I was hoping this would be just as good. I found the ending wasn't great.
This is written in such a way that it seems to take forever to actually get to the heart of the story, and when you do finally get there it is somewhat mediocre and then before you know it the book is finished and you're left thinking...ok well that was..well it just was...
I enjoyed this book. Always relevant to stories you can relate to from the news.
Marika Mcmahon
This book is woeful. It is a gross misrepresentation of the family law process and how individuals involved in family breakdown behave.

While I could understand tweaking a few of the processes to make the story a better read, here it just makes the whole thing Di unrealistic and misleading to be dangerous.

The subject is one ripe for the picking for the basis of a good book but this way misses the point. I am worried about the readers who may believe it is accurate. The characters are inaccurate
I thought this was a great read.

I really enjoyed the "Australian-ness" of it all. Pat and Barry are totally believable Aussie characters and a great representation of that just generation where you just made a decision and got on with it. Life wasn't about "being happy" it was about making the most of things.

The whole family court debate and deciding what or who is best for the child/ren is such a minefield and the suggested reading group questions are food for thought.

An enjoyable story.
As soon as I started this book I was hooked, could not and did not want to put it down. Loved it from start to finish. Definately did not expect the ending. Don't want to give anything away but will say that it gets you thinking about these characters and wondering if they are hiding something or if they are just a little bit crazy. Great book and definately reccomend this one

At first I really loved this, loved the telling of the tale by another family and in comparison to his own families story. I wont give away the ending, I loved the twist. It it all rolled out to like a rushed ending. I got a bit bored towards the end and really didn't feel as sorry for Matilida as I should of, I was too busy hating both the main characters.
I didnt enjoy this book as much as Caroline Overington other books I have read. I found the story to be long and stretched, I guessed who the abuser was early on in the story, and I found the last few pages cramed in the twist and ending which was rushed, only 2 stars for me Im afraid :(
Caroline Overington is as always, easy to read. Certainly a topical subject with lots of insights into personality. Slightly disappointing in that the perpetrator was obvious from early in the plot. Not up to the standard to Ghost Child but a nice read.
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Caroline Overington is an Australian author and journalist.

She has worked for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is is currently a staff writer for The Weekend Australian Magazine.

Caroline is a two-time winner of the Walkley Award for Investigative Journalism. She won her first Walkley for a series of articles about a literary fraud, and her second for a series about the AWB oil for food
More about Caroline Overington...
I Came to Say Goodbye Ghost Child Sisters Of Mercy No Place Like Home Can You Keep a Secret?

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“I see that both her parents are here. I'm pleased that they are, because I'd like to take the opportunity, early in what I fear will be a long and bitter battle, to tell them what I think of what they're doing to their child. I'm not spearking here about their fight for custody of her. I'm speaking here about their decision to get divorced. Let's not fool ourselves about what divorce is. Divorice is a failure of parenting. It does more damage to children than just About anything else that might happen to them in the years before they become adults. It takes from them the only things they hold dear. It breaks up their home. It destroys their sense of family. It removes them from the comfort of having one bed, in one safe, secure, familiar house, where they go to sleep every night of the week. It fills them with sadness and, probably, guilt. They can't help but think that they must somehow be to blame. It sets them up for a world in which nothing is certain and nobody can be trusted.” 4 likes
“Dr Bell clears his throat : "Matilda showed unambiguous excitement at the prospect of seeing her father and when the two were brought together for observation, her response was one of joy. There is genuine attachment between the two and it is difficult for me to conclue that Garry Gary Hartshorn poses any threat to his daughter, Matilda. On the contrary, it seems to me that Matilda is missing him.” 1 likes
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