Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

NO DAMAGE by Kathryn Hodgson – my review no.7

on 29/01/2015

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Autobiographies and memoirs have never really been my thing, and it would take something really special to draw me to them. No Damage had that. It is not only special because it takes a positive outlook on the life of a woman in her thirties, a life not without its troubles and turmoil, but because of how openly and inobtrusively the author lays out the details of her life, take it or leave it, knowing and risking the fact that everyone who reads the book will know some of her most intimate decisions in life. Authors do draw inspiration from real life, but those who would openly share their own living moments and insecurities are rare. I am not saying whether it is good or bad, I am simply saying that it took a lot of guts to ‘bare it all’ in order to ‘bear it all’, so to speak. I absolutely understand the purging process writing out your misfortunes and fortunes can have, but to then publish it all is a venture that takes a very special person indeed. The author shares with us moments we can all identify with – a serious illness in the family, odd relationships, questioning our career choices, adoring our pets, embarassing moments in which we were far from what we’d be proud of, sadness and grief, reinventing yourself in an effort to be who you dreamed you would be, and the eternal struggle to keep your head above water without clinging on to others for support. The style is even, developing funny moments reminiscent of Bridget Jones (the whole book is diary-like in a way), wonderful descriptive passages (my absolutely favourite part is the description of the drive to her parents’ home, filled with loving memories), and utter sadness as her mother’s cancer progresses. The failed relationships are described very openly, never laying blame on the partner, but learning to live with the facts, whatever they may be.
There were moments I could personally identify with, some I couldn’t, but it didn’t diminish the beauty of the author’s honest storytelling. The upbeat, non-judgmental and non-preaching tone, as well as the uncompromising honesty throughout the narrative are really what makes this book unique.

Anita Kovacevic

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