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Staying: A Memoir
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Staying: A Memoir

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  170 ratings  ·  35 reviews
As children, Jessie Cole and her brother Jake ran wild, free to roam their rainforest home as they pleased. They had each other, parents who adored them, and two mysterious, beautiful, clever half-sisters, Billie and Zoe, who came to visit every holidays. But when Jessie was on the cusp of adolescence, tragedy struck, and her happy, loving family fell apart. This beautiful ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Text Publishing
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Michael Livingston
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I tore through this in a day - it's a beautiful and utterly heart-breaking memoir about loss, family, grief and (eventually) recovery. Cole is a gorgeous writer and rakes over the incredibly difficult family life she's had in way that doesn't feel self-indulgent or unnecessary - it's powerful and revelatory in parts. Definitely one to read, but not if you're already feeling down - it's pretty grim.
Robert Lukins
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So beautiful and difficult and moving; a real achievement.
Text Publishing
‘A wounded, lovely, luminous book about grief, trauma and the strange healing potential of words.’
Tim Winton

‘An honest, raw and well-crafted memoir about a family torn apart.’
AU Review

‘Cole paints such an authentic picture of her grieving family I wanted to read more about the years that followed, which shows her great achievement in Staying.’
Good Reading

‘I have read many memoirs this year, but none as scrupulously honest as this one…The sensitivity and brilliance of Cole's writing meant I was
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best memoirs I have ever read. Although the emotions and topics of this book are rarely discussed or explored, Jessie Cole did so in a gentle and comforting way, given that she was discussing herself and her family.
Death of a loved one is difficult in any circumstancrs, and grief is its own particular struggle. Jessie Cole, in my eyes, is so brave to talk on the topic of suicide, especially as it is so personal for her.

Jessie Cole I salute you, and I wish you well in your con
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I eagerly await everything Jessie Cole publishes, so I bought Staying: A Memoir as soon as it hit the shelves. It might be my favourite of Jessie's books. Intelligent, lyrical and deeply insightful, Staying tells the story of Jessie's childhood, the tragedies that struck her family, and their aftermath. Jessie writes with love and compassion, and there's a sense of an honest struggle to make meaning of what has happened. Her delight in the natural world adds an extra dimension to the writing. I ...more
Lisa Walker
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book this is. Only a writer as skilled and insightful as Jessie Cole could turn such a tragic story into this shining gem. Life affirming and drenched in the healing power of nature.
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written, moving memoir of grief and trauma.
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
A beautifully-written memoir, filled with equal parts loss, grief, love and redemption.
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Heart smashing memoir. Comforting and uncomfortable all at once. Loved this book.
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
The writing in this book is astonishing - it is so emotional yet not sentimental - as the re-telling of her childhood & adolescence read like fiction. The story flowed so utterly fluidly, everything felt visceral and real and yet personal and certainly from Cole's own perspective.
Cole employed universal themes, but the minutiae in combination is really what made this book special - and, really, it's beyond special.
Cole lays everything bare and available for consumption, and it's so impressi
Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
Heart-achingly beautiful and sad, Jessie Cole has shared some of her most vulnerable moments in a life filled with trials. I adored this memoir in all its poetic beauty.
Lesley Moseley
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
3 1/2 rounded up due to the gentle way this sensitive subject and very personal account was handled.

Having had a different but similar experiences, many feelings resonated. One major difference between us was Jessie talks about her sister and fathers suicides as a loss of trust. I always felt anger; took me years to realise I had to accept their choices and developed the mantra : Her life, her death, her choice. The loss of my poor father was lost in that rage-pool.

Grief-time as Jessie coins it
Reannon Bowen
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars for such a honestly written book. What this book did for me was reinforce something I learnt from Any Ordinary Day- that we have to accompany people through the hard stuff the same as we do through the good stuff.
Sally Piper
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful unravelling of grief, guilt and reconciliation and how the landscapes we know and love can be salve and saviour.
Bree T
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It feels like a very long time since I was introduced to Jessie Cole’s work and in some ways, it is. I first read something by her in 2012 and was blown away by the imagery in her writing. Her first two books, Darkness On The Edge of Town and Deeper Water are incredible but it’s been a little while so I was very pleased when I read that there was something new coming. Different to her other books, Staying is a memoir of her childhood.

Jessie and her younger brother Jake had quite a free-range upb
Stephen Castley
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jessie Cole has crafted a magnificent and heart-felt memoir. It is beautiful, sad, tragic, but also uplifting. She has a great way with words and the reader gets to see everything up close and through her eyes. Read it. You'll love it too.
Kim Mariu
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I heard Jessie being interviewed on the radio and had to read her memoir. Jessie shares the highs and lows of her very unconventional childhood growing up in a rainforest in remote New South Wales. Heart wrenching, beautiful and thought provoking.
Bradley McCann
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary
Beautifully sweet; hauntingly sad; and ultimately, rejuvenating. Jessie's work is so deeply authentic. Her honesty while taking the reader deep into her interior life is profoundly moving and holds immense power for healing and catharsis.
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A mesmerising memoir. Jessie's story is so reminiscent of decades past but with themes which are relevant to any time or place. So engaging, and heart rending at times, and so beautifully written. The 4 (otherwise busy) days in which I managed to read this book is an indication of its "unputdownableness". Very highly recommend. Thankyou Jessie Cole for sharing your story. 🙏🌈
Laura Brading
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
A painful but utterly compassionate and absorbing memoir about suicide and how people live in its aftermath. Jessie Cole is a beautiful writer and I enjoyed her two novels that came before this. But Staying, her first published work of non-fiction, is on another level. Cole is writing about tragedy and trauma, and yet she remains unsentimental, poetic, precise. Her writing feels so familiar to me. I wondered if this was because I grew up not far from her Northern NSW home. But then I realised th ...more
Sherry Mackay
Jul 06, 2018 rated it liked it
This is such a sad story and certainly one I can identify with as I have also had 2 family members kill themselves. Knowing the area well that the writer lives in also brought the memoir close to home for me. Jessie writes this with such warmth and candour, not holding back on the good and the bad. Kudos to her for being able to move beyond the hard stuff in her life and create a new and fulfilling life. Well worth a read. This book will help you understand how grief affects us, and how alone th ...more
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-releases
This memoir had me in its grips from the start, and I finished it in one sitting. Jessie Cole has a way with words that just draws you in, joining her in her story of loss and rebirth and riding all the range of emotions she has felt on the journey through her life thus far. If you are a fan of memoirs, I highly recommend you pick up this one.
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Interesting memoir on how a teenagers girl suicide affected the family and eventually, after many years struggling with what happen and depression, her dad ended up also committing suicide.
Sad but also educational.
Kate Harrison
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Heartbreakingly beautiful. I read it over two days, hardly able to put it down but needing small breaks to really take in the story and process the grief experienced by the author and her loved ones.
Lisa Bacon-hall
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rick Morton
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jessie is an incredible writer who manages to make the searing truth beautiful to read. I was sobbing by the end. It is filled with a sort of haunted love and has such a strong sense of place. I can not recommend it highly enough.
Jessica Currie
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Everything aches after reading this. A beautiful memoir; gently handling such difficult trauma. x
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this in one sitting and felt the pain of all family members of having lost loved ones whilst reading this beautifully written memoir. Worth reading this novel.
Jo Hartley
Aug 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Thought provoking and traumatic
Mary D
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Simply perfect.
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Jessie Cole grew up in an isolated valley in Northern NSW, and lived a bush childhood of creek swimming and barefoot free-range adventuring. In 2009 she was awarded a HarperCollins Varuna Award for Manuscript Development, leading to the publication of her first novel Darkness on the Edge of Town, which has been shortlisted for the 2013 ALS Gold Medal and longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award. H ...more