Jennifer (JC-S)'s Reviews > Leaving the Rest Behind

Leaving the Rest Behind by Ann Nugent
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bookshelves: australian-womens-writers-challenge, australian-author

‘Annie has made a momentous decision. She is leaving the rest behind’

Ann Nugent never knew her grandmother, Anne (Annie) Hutcheson. Annie was born in the UK in 1863 and died in Australia in 1934. As a child Ann was shown a small canvas bag which contained a few precious relics of her grandmother’s life:

‘Some pieces did not fit together. A handwritten letter on lavender paper had to reassembled. Bits were missing from one of the marriage certificates. A ticket of passage to Australia had holes cut in it where my grandmother’s name and other details should have been. There were embossed funeral cards for people whose names we did not know. And, finally, an enamelled nurse’s badge.’

In her mid-fifties, Ann Nugent decided to write the story of the grandmother she had never known by tracing the relics in the bag.

This slim, self-published book tells as much of Annie Hutcheson’s story as Ann Nugent could trace. Annie could neither read nor write—she left no first-person record of her life. I read this book because Annie’s story, while not personal to me, could be the story of others who were. I also read this book because I admired the way in which Ann Nugent set out to discover more about her grandmother.

‘Although I never met her, although she never held me in her arms, she is the grandmother I love. She is the one who would have protected me. She is the one I turn to in my imaginings. I love her wilfully without reason.’

If you enjoy reading family history, especially where imagining everyday life augments dry biographical details, then you may enjoy this as I did. I would have liked to have met Annie Hutcheson. I am sure that she would have been proud of her granddaughter Ann Nugent.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

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Reading Progress

February 20, 2019 – Started Reading
February 20, 2019 – Shelved
February 20, 2019 – Shelved as: australian-womens-writers-challenge
February 20, 2019 – Shelved as: australian-author
February 20, 2019 –
page 27
February 21, 2019 – Finished Reading

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