I Came to Say Goodbye by Caroline Overington

I Came to Say Goodbye by Caroline Overington
I Came to Say Goodbye by Caroline Overington
I Came to Say Goodbye by Caroline Overington

Interesting insight into the Australian legal and welfare system. Keep the tissue box within reach.

Something tragic occurs, involving an infant and her mother. Using letters to the judge written by the mother’s father, sister and a nurse, Caroline Overington builds a backdrop against which the horrifying event—not revealed until the final part of the novel—is put into context.

Much of this novel sheds light on the ineffectiveness of the welfare and justice systems. Sometimes this is due to negligence or poor management, but it can just as easily be the result of good intentions. It’s heartbreaking to see how misunderstandings and the lack of resources can put already disadvantaged families into worse circumstances.

There’s something necessarily contrived about Overington’s narrative voice—people generally don’t write letters in such a way. But I think she does capture, in Med Atley, that quintessential voice of the Aussie battler, who tries to do the right thing by his daughter and can’t understand why the system keeps letting them down. That Overington is also a Walkley Award-winning journalist just makes the book feel that much more real.

I found the final twist to the story both tragic and uplifting. And yes, I was still a little surprised even though I read the last chapter first.

Yay or nay?

Worth a look for the author’s insights into the Australian legal and welfare system, but keep the tissue box within reach.

Title: I Came to Say Goodbye
Author: Caroline Overington
Publisher: Random House Australia
C format: 9781863256810 (1/10/2010)
Ebook: 9781742741307 (1/10/2010)

Where you can buy this book

AUSTRALIA: Booktopia | Borders | Fishpond | Leading Edge | Pages & Pages | Readings | Click here for more bookshops
EBOOKS: Book Depository | Borders | eBooks.com | Kindle US
WORLDWIDE: Book Depository | Or check your local library


  1. Thank you for your kind words, regarding my book. The thing I’m most grateful for is those people who say I got the voice of Med right. That to me was the biggest challenge, so again, thank you! 

  2. Kristel says:

    This Book was a wonderful read,so engaging,it read like a true crime as it related to alot of societies issues.
    I cannot thank you enough for writing such a wonderful book
    I had tears of sadness and shook my head in shame for these beautifully written characters
    I look forward to reading more of your lovely words
    God bless

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.