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I Came To Say Goodbye
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I Came To Say Goodbye

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  815 ratings  ·  138 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
Paperback, 295 pages
Published October 2010 by Random House Australia (first published 2010)
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Books Set in Australia
194th out of 371 books — 110 voters
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Best Modern Australian Literature
289th out of 320 books — 405 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,385)
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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.
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
Rachael Hewison
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
This review originally appeared at

When I grow up, I want to be Caroline Overington (or something very like her).

She's an Aussie journalist/author/mother who speaks with such poise and intelligence in interviews, and who uses the same poise and intelligence in her writing. In I Came To Say Goodbye, her second novel, she 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 r
Helen McKenna
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
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.

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
Cleo Bannister
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
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
Sean Harding
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
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 :)
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
Marcus Clark

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
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
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
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
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 res ...more
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
I must admit I was unsure about this book to begin with, I was totally surprised about the story, from the blurb I had expected something different, but once I got through the first few chapters I became intrigued as to what was going to happen.

A truly compelling read which covers a variety of tough and sensitive issues such as mental illness, adoption, the welfare system, and so much more.

The style in which it is written is also effective, having been written in a letter format. This for me h
Got to admit, nearly gave up on this early on due to the rambling "long letter" format it is written in, but read some positive reviews which encouraged me to read on. Sure enough, I did find this improved once I got used to the style and it was quite an interesting story, although not the thriller about an abducted child that I originally thought I was going to be reading.
I don't know if maybe the characters are a little too cliched or just not explained properly. For example, I would have rea
I have been reading this as the 2nd in a 3 in 1 book titled Secrets & Lies. The other two parts are Beyond Fear by Jaye Ford and Come Back To Me by Sara Foster.

I have to say that this is one of the saddest, and truest works of fiction I have ever read. Having been involved with the various state forms of Australian child welfare systems, I have to say that either Caroline Overington has had personal involvement or at the very least close contact with their ridiculously archaic and absolutel
Abhinethri V.t
Im not sure what I think about this book. Hence the no stars rating. I have spent the last five minutes alternating between my feelings of love and hate towards this book. Not that it wasnt written well, it was the subject that I couldnt personally handle.

I am not a mushy baby loving person- generally. I feel the need to get that fact ironed out. I do not ooze into a puddle of hormones when I am forced to hold it(Infant/ Baby) and smell its head ( creepy for me & the baby - if it had anythi
Deb Bodinnar
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.
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
This book gave me nightmares, I kept trying to stop the tragedy from happening. Well worth reading but it will affect you.
Well written.

I wasn't sure about this book at first, I was afraid the narrator was going to be difficult to read. But just 10% in, I was completely hooked. I read it in just 7hrs, during a long-haul flight; no TV/movies, my Kindle propped by my in-flight meal, I was totally absorbed.

Although set in Australia, there was a lot about this book that could have taken place in England, maybe about ten years earlier, but it was still very nostalgic. The narrator is Med, now in his late fifties, settin
Deborah Ideiosepius
Dec 16, 2012 Deborah Ideiosepius rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who loved The Shipping News
Shelves: australiana, fiction
The prologue (and back cover) set up the exciting situation of a woman taking a baby out of a hospital, this seemed to have promise.

The first few chapters, spoken in slow laborious detail in the first person cure you of the delusion that it will be an engrossing read and give you a chance to settle into the very slow pace of telling years and years of back story to the event in question.

I quite liked the first bit, as I thought the portrayal of Australian 60's life was well enough done, though t
Bree T
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
wow what a read this is. This book has an ending that i dont think anyone is had me in tears.!
the book is told in 2 parts - firstly by Med - the Dad and secondily by Kat, his daughter.
What i would say is perservere with it. Its a little slow to begin with but it starts to build a picture of family life for Med, his daughters Kat, Fat and his wife Pat (sorry the names annoyed me alittle) THe main bulk of the story is about Fat (donna faye) and he
See my full review here: http://booksaremyfavouriteandbest.wor...

I Came to Say Goodbye by Caroline Overington is a work of fiction however there are so many elements of the story that are chillingly familiar that you could well be reading a true crime book. The jacket blurb does enough to reel you in.

Overington employs two particular techniques to tell this story – reverse storytelling and multiple narrators.

The reverse storytelling didn’t work for me. In some books it’s fantastic (Canada by Ric
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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...
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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” 0 likes
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