LLR REVIEW: Fractured by Dawn Barker

Long lost Reviews (LLR) is a  monthly featured hosted by Ally @ Ally’s Appraisals where bloggers are encouraged to tackle their review backlog with book reviews that have been sitting there for a long time. Reviews can range from in-depth analyses to one sentence statements with no pressure applied. To learn more and see participating blogs visit Ally’s blog here.

NOTE: OMG guys I think this is my most overdue review yet. I found this review in my draft folder from SEVEN years ago. I remember adoring this book, and feeling like my review was so inferior and didn’t do the book justice… that I just never posted the review.

Published: 26th February 2013

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Pages: 330

Format: Paperback

RRP: $29.99

5/5 Stars

A compelling, emotional knockout debut from a brilliant new Australian author.

An unforgettable novel that brings to life a new mother’s worst fears.

Tony is worried. His wife, Anna, isn’t coping with their newborn. Anna had wanted a child so badly and, when Jack was born, they were both so happy. They’d come home from the hospital a family. Was it really only six weeks ago?

But Anna hasn’t been herself since. One moment she’s crying, the next she seems almost too positive. It must be normal with a baby, Tony thought; she’s just adjusting. He had been busy at work. It would sort itself out. But now Anna and Jack are missing. And Tony realises that something is really wrong…

What happens to this family will break your heart and leave you breathless.

Fractured is a compulsive must-read from debut Australian Author Dawn Barker dealing with the psychology of postnatal depression and its lingering effects on the entire family.

Emotionally, Fractured is a heavy book, and yet the way Barker has expertly crafted this novel, the serious issues are dealt with in an enlightening, educational and compelling way. The entire book your own morals and preconceived ideas are subjected to scrutiny through the characters and their surroundings.  Despite this, at no point during the narrative did I feel like Barker, a qualified Child Psychiatrist was lecturing me on the topic of mental health or infanticide. To that end, Barker has gone to great lengths to make sure that the reader understands that there is no right or wrong way to approach the issues taking place in the narrative as there is always more to the story than meets the eye.

When I first started reading Fractured, I  couldn’t help but compare Tony and Anna’s story with Wendy James’ novel The Mistake. The more I read, however, the more it became obvious that this is where the similarities end. This is because Fractured is largely a book like no other; Barker has actively positioned the book to focus on the family and the community surrounding them instead of focusing on the media’s representation of post-natal depression ad infanticide altogether. This intense focus on the main casts mental health ultimately allows a clear view of any lingering emotional and physical strain between multi-layered family ties and relationships, while also giving us a much deeper exploration of the issues themself.

Fractured is a beautifully crafted novel that will leave you captivated, so angry you’ll be yelling at the pages, and emotionally exhausted as you yourself are forced to experience Anna and Tony’s trauma in order to make up your own mind about exactly what happened and who exactly is to blame. I found myself glued to the pages, unable to tear myself away from the narrative. I constantly guessed and second-guessed what was really going on and who was to blame for what, only to have my entire world turned upside.

I highly recommend this book.

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