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I Came to Say Goodbye
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I Came to Say Goodbye

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  1,122 Ratings  ·  182 Reviews
It was four o'clock in the morning.

A young woman pushed through the hospital doors.

Staff would later say they thought the woman was a new mother, returning to her child - and in a way, she was.

She walked into the nursery, where a baby girl lay sleeping. The infant didn't wake when the woman placed her gently in the shopping bag she had brought with her. There is CCTV foota
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Paperback, 295 pages
Published October 2010 by Random House Australia (first published 2010)
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Books Set in Australia
254th out of 554 books — 159 voters
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Best Modern Australian Literature
337th out of 410 books — 490 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sharon
Jan 05, 2015 Sharon rated it really liked it
This story is primarily told through the voice of fifty nine year old, Med who grew up in a little town of Forster on the New South Wales Central Coast.

Med's life changes the day his wife Pat walked out on him and their three young children. He could never understand how a mother could walk away from her own children, but that's exactly what his wife did. Faced with bringing up three young children alone, Med does the best he can, but he finds it a struggle especially as the children get older.
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Suzanne
Sep 13, 2016 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dad, library-penrith
I'm so glad my dad recommended this book. Now I'm looking forward to reading more of hers. I loved reading this Aussie story, written in letter form by the patriarch of the family. He's a simple yet hard working man, struggling to prevent bad things happening to his family, at the same time trying to raise them on his own. Men like this are so common in my parents era ie. not accepting charity, strong work ethic, respect, making the best of what they've got, avoiding relying on welfare 'I can do ...more
MaryG2E
Dec 17, 2015 MaryG2E rated it it was amazing
A very powerful story, cleverly told, full of complex, difficult issues and emotional tugs.

Meredith Atley, Med for sort, is an old-fashioned country Australian bloke, living in Forster on the NSW coast. Not well-educated, from a deeply conservative background, quite rigid, paternalistic, almost chauvinistic values and behaviours. He’s never travelled, knows no literature or culture, is stuck in very conventional mind-sets. He treats his wife very poorly, due to his lack of empathy and understand
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Sue1958
Sep 08, 2014 Sue1958 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
This is a most outstanding book. I offered to read this and review this from Net Galley publishers. So they gifted this to me.

I've never read a book like this before, the way it was written is in a way so different than I have come across, in a good way.

You get the Father telling a story, telling it to the Court, except, its told in such a way you feel you are the judge. Its so unusual it works. I loved it.

The later part of the book is where his other daughter takes up her story from her side. I
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Jenna
Mar 12, 2016 Jenna rated it really liked it
I Came To Say Goodbye tells the story of Med Atley, whose wife rides the second wave of feminism right out of their small country town in the '70s, leaving him to raise three kids (including one toddler) on his own. It's the fate of the abandoned toddler, in particular, that the book deals with, revealing how mental illness and grief can tear a family apart.

The story is told primarily from Med's perspective, as he writes a letter to a judge explaining his youngest child's background, in an attem
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Rachael Hewison
Feb 27, 2013 Rachael Hewison rated it it was amazing
This is perhaps the book that has most divided myself and my boyfriend. I absolutely loved it, I thought the topic was thoughtful and the style with which it was written was great. My boyfriend however disliked it and thought it would have been better had it been written differently.
The reason that I thought it was such an effective book was because of the way you were never quite sure what has happened. I'd read the blurb and the first chapter so I had an idea in my mind of where the book was g
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Lee
Dec 19, 2015 Lee rated it it was ok
Sorry i just did not enjoy this book. Might be just me but I found it very hard to get into , quite drawn out.
Helen McKenna
Feb 04, 2016 Helen McKenna rated it really liked it
Having read other titles by Caroline Overington, I knew that it would take some time to get to the storyline described on the blurb of this book. That is not a criticism, just an acknowledgement that she writes in a distinctive style that is quite unique in Australian fiction. Whatever her reasons for choosing to portray her stories through the eyes of a third party (involved in the story but not the main protagonist), it is a literary device that works fantastically for her.

In I Came To Say Goo
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Nadia
Aug 15, 2014 Nadia rated it it was ok
I devoured this book quickly due to its simplistic language and compelling subject matter. Whilst this book is certainly a page turner, I can't say that I actually liked it.

I borrowed this book from the library, and someone who had read it before me had circled the many typos - this book is littered with them.

Each character is an oversimplified cliche. The narrative is somewhat awkward and trite. There was so much potential to explore the human psyche, yet this book does not delve deep enough.

Th
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Sue1958
Sep 08, 2014 Sue1958 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: net-galley
This is a most outstanding book. I offered to read this and review this from Net Galley publishers. So they gifted this to me.

I've never read a book like this before, the way it was written is in a way so different than I have come across, in a good way.

You get the Father telling a story, telling it to the Court, except, its told in such a way you feel you are the judge. Its so unusual it works. I loved it.

The later part of the book is where his other daughter takes up her story from her side. I
...more
Cleo Bannister
Sep 30, 2013 Cleo Bannister rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book starts with a woman taking a baby from a hospital but the reader should take note of the ‘From the Author’ before this where Caroline Overington explains that she has been a journalist reporting on child neglect and child murder.

I’ll be honest the beginning of this story confused me slightly. Med Atley has been asked to provide a witness statement about his grandchild but how does this link to the stolen baby? All soon becomes clear with the majority of this book taking the form of a l
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Raewyn
Jun 29, 2011 Raewyn rated it really liked it
It was the cover that drew me to the book "I Came to Say Goodbye" by Caroline Overington. After reading the story it is the cover that disappoints me because it broadcasts the designer did not read the book.

Nothing disappoints me about this author's work. Everything she relates, however, is a damming portrayal of society.

The lead voice is a man named Med, short for Meredith. He tells us how frustrating such a name is for him but it doesn't stop him from nick naming his chubby daughter "Fat". His
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Sean Harding
Nov 02, 2012 Sean Harding rated it it was ok
Long winded rambling story, which seemed more of a vendetta against the government, welfare departments and the family court.

A real disappointment, from the terrible style of apparently someone writing a judge a 300 page letter, to a court judgement saying that someone was 'working a shift at 'woolies' - really?

Characters seemed to just vanish and were never heard of again, whilst others vanished and then suddenly popped up again.

The whole idea that anyone would, in Australia, give their child
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Sara
Aug 04, 2013 Sara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: australian
Wow, all i can say is Wow. If you only read one book this year, I highly recommend this one, but be warned have the tissues ready, she is a fantastic author/storyteller with a massive potential to go far :) I can't wait to read more of her books :)
Renita D'Silva
Oct 16, 2014 Renita D'Silva rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. Could not put down. Will be reading all the books by this wonderful author.
Bree T
Feb 15, 2011 Bree T rated it it was amazing
I Came To Say Goodbye caught my attention recently so I thought I’d request it in at my local library. It gave me a bit of an idea how popular it was when I was about 9th in the queue and had to wait close to three months in order to read it! I’m rarely ever in queue to read a novel at all, even new releases I manage to snag it first or there’s usually only 1 or 2 ahead!

It was worth the wait.

The novel is told predominantly from the point of view of Med Atley, a man in his late 50s. When we meet
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Marcus Clark
Jan 20, 2015 Marcus Clark rated it really liked it
Shelves: australian-books

This is an excellent novel by Caroline Overington, intelligent, descriptive, and informative; it will keep you reading till the end. It deals with some sensitive subjects: child-abuse, and the equally disturbing governmental abuse from social workers. We know that in past times, officials and carers caused enormous damaged to mothers and children by forcibly taking babies from un-wed mothers -- even to the point of telling the new mothers that the baby had been stillborn, so there was no need to
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Kirsty (Book - Love - Bug)
I finished this book last night with tears in my eyes. Having read the back of the book, I was expecting an action packed thrill ride, but it isn't like that, it's a slow tale through the history of a family which eventually culminates in a tragedy. It is a very moving storyline though, it just takes time to build.

The book begins with a very short prologue describing a woman walking into a hospital at 4am, and taking a baby. Part One is then written by a man, Med Atley, father to three children
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Jody
Mar 08, 2014 Jody rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. When I couldn't decide what I was in the mood to read I picked up 'I came to say Goodbye' and that was it it I couldn't put it down. This is my third book by Caroline Overington and I amazed at the ease in which I am sucked into her books and can not put them down. This is my favourite so far out of 'Matilda is missing' and 'Sisters of Mercy'. I normally don't read books that deal with such disturbing subject matters; but I have thus far been converted. I think it must ...more
Sara Cole
Dec 23, 2011 Sara Cole rated it really liked it
Very Very Good!

Amazing that this is written mostly from the perspective of a 60 year old man it is a book that I think women would relate to. Motherhood and family relationships are the central themes of this novel.

I found myself agonising over the cascade of events that lead to an absolutely avoidable tradgedy. I also admired the unconditional love, support and committment that Med was able to give to his family from start to finish.

If I had the time this is the type of novel you could read i
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Chloe
Jan 17, 2014 Chloe rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. Loved this Aussie story ... Vegemite and butter worms and all. It's so refreshing to read a book like this being set in Australia. It's a diverse story weaving so many social issues seamlessly into a unique mystery. I loved that it was written in letter format, underlining the power of parental love and the battle to keep family together.

I very nearly gave this book 5 stars, but the ending took that half star away. I wasn't sure I liked the new voice at the end, but I do realise that
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Bettina
Oct 29, 2013 Bettina rated it liked it
This author manages to discuss issues in life that not many other authors write about. The storyline did take awhile to get going though, and I'm not too sure about the format of how the story was written in letter form. The story did start to pick up half way through though. A very heartbreaking story. The story did paint DoCS as being pretty useless, although I can't judge on that as I've never had any need for them before personally. Loved how the author discussed the topic of mental illness ...more
Karyn
Dec 12, 2011 Karyn rated it really liked it
ok I'm going to say right off that I loved this book! BUT it would have gotten 5 stars if not for the lack of research that went into it, particularly when you consider the author actually lives in the city much of the story centers around! For example there is no Sydney Children's Hospital at Parramatta - its at Westmead, a paediatric registrar is not the head honcho but junior staff. Having said that it was a brilliant analysis of the "system" (if it can be believed considering the lack of ...more
Deb Bodinnar
Jul 05, 2014 Deb Bodinnar rated it really liked it
I found this a very sad story and it made me wonder just how many young women have been in a similar situation as Donna-Faye and how many children have been awarded to the State over recent years. Certainly a novel that could raise great debate over where and what happens to these poor kids. I enjoyed the way it was written, from the point of view of Med ( the Grandpa) and Kat (the older sister of Donna-Faye). I will be reading more by this author.
Lorraine
Jun 29, 2014 Lorraine rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much I read it in one sitting-4 hours! This story told through the eyes of Med and in a letter form was emotional and thought provoking. It brought to life the love that Med had for his children and grandchildren, emphasising the human condition of imperfection and making mistakes.
Denise Sykes
Sep 15, 2012 Denise Sykes rated it it was amazing
This book gave me nightmares, I kept trying to stop the tragedy from happening. Well worth reading but it will affect you.
L.E. Truscott
Sep 10, 2016 L.E. Truscott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This doesn’t happen to me often but there is a moment in this book when my jaw dropped open, like a scene from a cheesy, poorly-acted TV movie, and stayed open and I couldn’t close it. I had to cover my mouth with my hand until the ability to move my face returned to within my control. There aren’t too many books I can say that about. There aren’t too many things in life in general I can say that about.

I Came to Say Goodbye is the second Caroline Overington book I’ve read. I was extremely impres
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Annalie
Oct 24, 2016 Annalie rated it really liked it
Caroline Overington is an expert on the subject 0f child welfare. She draws on her years of experience as a reporter to create a heartbreaking story so true to life that it's difficult to read and very depressing at times. There are many complex issues and I'll probably think about this book for quite a while.
Kate
Nov 10, 2016 Kate rated it really liked it
Loved this book - read it!
Cheryl
Oct 02, 2016 Cheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A story that makes you think

In every country there are systems in place to protect children. And in every country, they seem to fail, at times, due to too little funding or too little staff.....or both. This tells the story of how a family can suffer when a system is trying to do well but fails.
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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
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“what I’ve learnt over my life is that people don’t do things by mistake. We know what we’re doing, whether we admit that or not” 1 likes
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