Loss Adjustment (Linda Collins, Awa Press)
The unimaginable horror of losing a beloved only child to suicide concentrated Linda Collins’ mind, producing this extraordinary book. The pain of her loss suffuses every page, but she writes of her grief with such clarity and honesty that it’s hard to stop reading. New Zealand expatriate Collins explores the strands of her family’s life in an effort to staunch the guilt and find a way to go on living. Why, she asks the universe, as loving, attentive parents, did they not see the demons that were destroying their daughter Victoria? Only upon reading Victoria’s private diaries after her death do they find evidence of her unravelling and begin piecing together the dual worlds their daughter occupied, her obsessive compulsive traits and suicidal ideation, and her search for help seemingly from everyone except them. To her proud parents, Victoria McLeod was a willowy 17-year-old beauty with everything to live for. They were aware of her ADHD symptoms, that she found school difficult, and of her nascent questioning of her sexuality. But they believed all her issues would resolve in time, due to her many personal strengths and the exquisite literary talents demonstrated in her journals, which since her death have found international praise. This book is an invaluable resource for every parent and troubled teenager—and for any government that thinks an education system directed only at creating jobs is the way to go.
Julia Taylor worked in trade publishing for many years.