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I Came to Say Goodbye
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I Came to Say Goodbye

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  907 Ratings  ·  158 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
245th out of 522 books — 147 voters
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Best Modern Australian Literature
312th out of 344 books — 447 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,594)
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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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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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Suzanne
Jan 03, 2014 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dad, library
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
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
Oct 03, 2011 Jenna rated it really liked it
This review originally appeared at http://bellesbookshelf.blogspot.com/

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
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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 Cooper
Dec 19, 2015 Lee Cooper 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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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
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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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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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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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 :)
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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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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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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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 res ...more
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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Julie
Jan 25, 2016 Julie rated it it was amazing
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 footage of what happened next, and most Australians would have seen it, either on the internet or the news.The woman walked out ...more
Shara
Apr 24, 2015 Shara rated it really liked it
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
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Nicki
Nov 19, 2014 Nicki rated it liked it
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
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Julie
Oct 24, 2014 Julie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-challenge
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
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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
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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.
Ruby Noise
Aug 15, 2015 Ruby Noise rated it liked it
A letter is written from the perspective of the father, sister and foster carer to a Family Court Judge. An easy to read book I found this story tragic yet at times close to the truth as I have worked as foster carer and have first hand dealing with DoCS (Dept of Community Services). It was always an oxymoron to me that they were called Dept of Community Services because the system certainly forms no idea of community with it's idiotic dealings in family matters. A good story on the heartbreak f ...more
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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” 0 likes
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