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Loss Adjustment

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  86 ratings  ·  41 reviews
“I have had nothing bad happen to me except my own doing. I have let this cowardice envelop me, and I can’t shake it off. I will commit the worst thing you can ever do to someone who loves you: killing yourself. The scary thing is, I’m okay with that.” —Victoria McLeod, Laptop journal, March 30, 2014.

Loss Adjustment is a mother’s recount of her 17-year-old daug
Paperback, 316 pages
Published September 28th 2019 by Ethos Books
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Rachael ( RachaelRexds )
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
(Potential trigger warnings for suicide, depression)

“I have had nothing bad happen to me except my own doing. I have let this cowardice envelop me, and I can’t shake it off. I will commit the worst thing you can ever do to someone who loves you: killing yourself. The scary thing is, I’m okay with that.”

As someone who has struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts, Loss Adjustments was a book that greatly pulled on my heartstrings and I found myself being unable to carry on read
Felix Cheong
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
In language so sharp in its sheer clarity, Linda Collins opens up an emotional investigation into her past. Or more specifically, her daughter’s, and why a talented young writer on the cusp of becoming would take her own life. Honest and heartrending, Loss Adjustment is as much a memoir of a family coming to terms with grief as a post-mortem of a troubled soul.
Arin Fong
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
There were many times where I had to put down this book—mostly on peak-hour train rides or alone in my bed—because there were tears in my eyes. Such is Linda Collins’s raw and difficult portrayal of living with the grief of losing her daughter. There is no disingenuous message of false hope, no echoing of the clichéd “time heals all” narrative, no concealment of the oftentimes ugly impulse to grieve loudly, selfishly, and to chastise those who have wronged her and her late daughter. "Loss Adjust ...more
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
In Loss Adjustment, Linda Collins writes of her journey into that unimaginable land of loss & grieving she enters after her daughter's death to suicide. The book is meditative, heavy, heartbreaking, but equally full of tenderness, undeniable love, & a clarity that shines even through the miasma of grief. Linda writes of her daughter's death & the difficult process of grieving alongside commentaries on Singaporean society, its cultural practices, as well as explicating certain psychol ...more
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
When a child dies from suicide,
who do you blame?
Do you blame the friend who knew about her tendencies?
The school?
The bullies?
The stressful academic system?
The parents?
Or yourself?

The blame game is a cycle of guilt.

Mother Linda Collins pieces together clues to paint a clearer picture of what her daughter, Victoria, was going through before she took her own life at the age of 17.

What was she really thinking? What was she feeling? What was lif
Gemma F
Full review now on my blog:

Aug 26, 2019
Thank you Ethos Books for sending me an Advanced Reader's Copy of Loss Adjustment in exchange for an honest review.

This was such a beautiful, emotional and heartbreaking read and I felt that the author, Linda was brave and strong in writing this book.

It was hard for me to read Loss Adjustment as it also reminded me my personal experience when a friend of mine died by suicide in 2013.

Author Linda Collins's take in her memoir, Loss Adjustmen
Julie Vellacott Massey
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was completely immersed in this tightly-written story of life and loss. It’s disturbing and distressing in its intensity; at times I didn’t want to continue reading but couldn’t put it aside. Linda’s telling of Victoria’s story depicts an ordinary loving family with normal plans and dreams. An ordinary family torn apart by suicide. The struggle to cope with loss, guilt and unthinkable sadness is laid out on the page for readers to share. As we share this journey of striving towards a level of ...more
Jolene Lum
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Linda Collins’ new work is a double imperative around aftermath. Loss adjustment, in insurance lingo is an expense, borne to the insurer after a claim has been filed and require processing and settling. Often, the insurers incur these costs by trying to prove and justify loss and damage— to understand why things have gone wrong. Collins’ experiences in Loss Adjustment include both of these activities— to have lost and to attempt personal adjustments through the diligence of a questioning searc ...more
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Many thanks to Ethos Books for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

“We hear the sound of the motorbike. We rush out, hoping for news. It is Mohan, the condominium’s security guard. The burly Indian with a carefully tended moustache and devotion to his job has known Vic since she was a little girl. This familiar, kindly man in his blue uniform and polished black shoes, is sobbing.”

This book’s title was unsettling to me right from the start. Isn’t “adjustment” too cold, too transa
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Where do I start with this book? This is a book that I wish had been out when I was also going through the turmoil of losing someone close to me to suicide. Collins pulls no punches in this account of her daughter's death, and all the torrential slush of mourning and grief that follows when someone leaves in such an absurd way is rendered in a heart-bursting, plaintive manner. Rarely have I seen an account that communicates so well the existential and emotional loneliness afterwards, the sheer b ...more
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Linda Collins lost her 17-year-old daughter, Victoria, to suicide. Ethos Books
How do I even respond to a book as raw as this?
But Linda Collins doesn’t flinch, doesn’t shun away from exposing her innermost thoughts. And neither shall I. The MBTI personality profiling is my latest obsession, so I shall detail how her book impacted this classic ENFP campaigner.
My inquisitive mind loved how the book took me on a journey in so many wonderfully scattered directio
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I devoted a chunk of this week to finishing Loss Adjustment, Linda Collins’ memoir about losing her 17-year-old daughter to suicide.
What struck me immediately was how close Victoria and I are in age— she would have been two years older than me— and so I found myself able to relate to a lot of the things she had been going through. Whenever the narrative would detail what was happening with Victoria’s school or social life, more often than not, I found it resonating very uncomfortably with
Mavis Chan
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Teenage suicide is certainly not a light topic, and this book makes it intensely personal. The author Linda Collins, explores the complexities of a shocking loss as she delves into the harrowing experience of losing her daughter to suicide, and how her world is irrevocably altered.

I appreciated how the author's perspective as a New Zealander in Singapore rendered the local cultural norms and context more pronounced. From mourning and funeral rituals to the single-minded focus on results-based s
Sorfina Ibrahim
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loss Adjustment - a moving memoir of a mother’s recount of her 17 year old daughter’s suicide - is delicate, raw and necessary. I must admit, it was challenging to read the memoir when I first realised that I too was a 17 year old girl back in 2014 preparing for my national exams, so I had to put the book down and watch a few Lex and Cinnabon cat videos before returning to the book. But with the memoir’s use of interwoven poems and diary entries written by Victoria McLeod and a narration that is ...more
Jac Jenkins
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loss Adjustment is Linda Collins’ account of the death by suicide of her daughter at the age of 17. Its exceptionality lies in the inclusion of excerpts from her daughter’s extraordinary journals. The reader follows Collins’s journey to try to make sense of the act, the death, when none of it seems to make any sense at all. Woven into the memoir is the almost parallel story of the loss of her house in the 2011 Canterbury Earthquake and the process of rebuilding.

Collins’s stated purpose for the
Jezreel Deborah
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
First chapter in and I wondered: how does one muster such a bold vulnerability? What could’ve driven her to expose the ugly, the messy, the tangled, and all the pain?

With grief in its bare nakedness, how does a mother find that strength to give voice to her daughter’s suicide, with such depth and weight?

Simply put, this book is about suicide—what comes before it and what is left in the aftermath. And the whys, mostly revealed through unravelling Victoria’s raw diary entries written
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
****won this as a giveaway****

Just finished reading the poem that marks Victoria’s earthly resting spot. Collins’ writing is scattered, impactful, and deep- resembling the process of grief and loss. It was truly an honor to read her story. As Victoria's mother, you will forever carry a loss that hurts so deeply. Know that anyone reading your journey walks away a better person for having read it. A mother, and her beautiful daughter, truly do shine light in this world that can appear
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
The full review can be found on Artsy Draft.

After I finished reading Loss Adjustment, it feels closer as a deep and genuine love letter from Linda to her daughter, Victoria, who died in suicide just at the age of 17. Reading about the incident and exploring Linda’s rawest emotions and deepest thoughts, I feel as if I’m peeking through an intimate mother-daughter scene that I wasn’t supposed to see. It’s just too sacred to be shared with anyone but both of them.

Thank you to Ethos Books for se
Winnie Fok
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reading this book felt like tiptoeing into unknown territory, breathlessly glimpsing something beyond my teleological topography, something so quietly devastating it's difficult to grasp the realness of. Death, and all the more suicide, is a creature we never stop learning how to face and come to terms with. Following the book, as it meanders through and through speculation and anger and despair with fittingly no resolution, is an exercise in itself of experiencing and understanding a little mor ...more
Jeremy Ang
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It is always challenging to talk about untimely death, let alone the suicide of one’s child. Yet, by giving us a raw glimpse into the thoughts of a parent trying to make sense of her loss, this book provides us the opportunity to engage with this difficult, yet important topic. As we journey through the process of trying to make sense of something so senseless, we also get the opportunity to ask ourselves as to what, if anything, can be done to avoid another tragedy. Thank you Linda for this gif ...more
Shalani Devi
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
(trigger warnings for suicide, self-harm, depression and mental health)

Grief - the word itself brings a certain kind of heaviness that is almost bordering on being suffocating. How do you even begin to experience such an emotion, much less convey it to someone else? It’s something that affects us differently - whether we are the ones grieving or are merely spectators to someone else’s grief - and is as intimate and vulnerable a moment as the pain it elicits.

In Loss Adjustment, Linda Collins r
Izza Haziqah
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“I make a decision to believe that all of Vic is not dead, and that ‘moving on’ does not mean discarding her. My daughter will always be more than just bones in an urn. She did communicate with me as she lay dying at dawn, that she was free, and was happy. She is capable of communicating with me, still.”
— Linda Collins, Loss Adjustment
Loss Adjustment made me tear up so many times and at so many places. On my bed before I sleep, on the way to school in the crowded MRT, in the c
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
"Grief can’t be cured, though it can be diverted, for a while. It is not an illness. Grief is an extension of love, and if you loved your child, you can’t stop loving them and therefore you can’t stop grieving."

This is a book about the tangle of grief but more importantly, it is also a book about the depth of love.


Loss Adjustment is a raw, deep-dive into the intricacies of death, love, loss, grief; trying to make sense of all these colliding emotions when it suddenly comes crashing i/>Loss
Christine Tan
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'd been bracing myself for this, thinking it'd be a heavy, difficult read given the subject, but there is a generosity, intelligence and persistence in the writing that draws one in. Linda turns the details of Victoria's death over and over, seeking patterns, comfort, meaning, and the element of mystery that pervaded a systematic presentation of rich detail was very compelling (was particularly struck by observations on Singaporean funeral rituals/rallying of community through a New Zealander's ...more
Yeoh Su
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
It feels like death is not deathly. It feels like so much life. “Hours pass. I surface, restless.” This is how the second chapter of Loss Adjustment begins, taking us five words farther from where the first chapter ends, from parents learning of their daughter’s demise, from death and loss and “numb disbelief”. Takes us to life, so much of it, all of it. Hours pass, Collins surfaces, restless, and we watch her go: in search of her daughter’s life, of friends, and parents, and principals, and far ...more
Khin WT
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
TW: suicide
This book isn’t just about a mother coming to grips with her daughter’s suicide and trying to build a narrative around why it happened; it brings together the threads of grief in the aftermath of loss that extends through the years, sprinklings of Victoria’s life (through her journal entries and little creative pieces) from when she first started entertaining suicidal thoughts, and Collins’ own reflections as she uses Victoria’s discovered writings to frame and inform the past i
Isabella Ow
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
How exactly does one measure loss? Through a valuation of the intangibles that are left behind-- in the form of memories, psychical connections and words? Or by the broken shards the ones left behind pick up--a grieving process that forms a narrative in its own right and that never really ends? The ways and means to measure the loss of a beloved daughter seem endless and a vicious perpetuating cycle at first, but eventually meaning and purpose is found - - showing both the fragile and indomitabl ...more
Yong Feng
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This must have been a difficult book to write. Linda Collins gives us an unflinchingly raw and honest account of the grief, frustration, doubt, blame and anxiety that followed after her 17-year-old daughter’s suicide. As she describes how she and her husband attempt to deal with the immense pain and loss they experience, she also weaves in excerpts from Victoria’s journal found after her passing. In their search for answers, the journal helps shed light on the loneliness and inner anguish that t ...more
Shu Jun Tay
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
The first half of the book is quite lengthy and I feel that it has quite a bit of non essential details, e.g. what food and drinks (naming the local brand F&N as well) were available at the wake. However, it’s also refreshing to see how a kiwi described the Singapore multi racial culture, religions and beliefs.

The second half of the book were heart wrenching and full of motherly love - of how someone want to find justice for the loved one and tries to connect spiritually to the l
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
When I first found out about the nature of the book, I was a little reluctant to read it. It just so happened that the last time I read a book with a similar theme, I barely got through half the book because the content was so heavy - I didn't have the mental capacity to finish it at that time. This time, though, Loss Adjustment gave me a different perspective and yes, I got to the end of the book.

It is not to say the topics of depression, suicide and one's mental health are taken li
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Linda Collins is a copyeditor on the political desk of The Straits Times. She has an MA in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) at Victoria University, New Zealand and her non-fiction and poetry have appeared in Turbine, Swamp Living, The Fib Review, The Cordite Poetry Review and The Freerange Journal. She was shortlisted for the Hachette Australia Trans-Tasman ...more
“They see it as perfectly normal for me to sit beside Victoria’s body for hours on end, telling her how much I love her and all the things I meant to inform her of but never got around to. How her grandfather Jack was a conscientious objector in the Second World War, but did not want to be separated from his mates, and so became an ambulance officer. How Grandma Sheila recalls him waking from a frequent dream of the trenches, always crying out, “I can’t reach him, I can’t reach him.” That he was a brave man who did the best he could within his own principles. Of how he would have loved her and been so proud of her. Asking Vic to tell Jack we miss him.” 0 likes
“Malcolm’s friend, Ishak, tells him to be strong. Be strong—it is also a saying used by New Zealand Maori who will urge, kia kaha. My husband repeats to himself, Be strong, as if trying it on for size. Yet he is finding it impossible to be strong. He realises that Ishak’s advice is that of a believer, one who sees a point to all this suffering. A superior being has willed it, and there is life after death. Malcolm admires that certainty, that belief. But he does not share it.” 0 likes
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