Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Wednesday, 15 July 2020


It's time for another book review.

This one looks at "Unforgiving" by Carmel Beresford, a self-published account of the life and tragic death of the author's son, and her struggle with the aftermath.

Not many books have left me with such a profound understanding of the human condition.

The reasons for that, apart from the depth of the tragedy described by the author, are the insights provided by her narrative. Carmel was the principal of a small bush school at the time of Sam's death, but it is apparent that she is also a talented writer.

She was also a very effective school principal, something I learned when I worked briefly a few years ago as a consultant in her school. Although I worked through many schools out west in my stint as a part-time visiting teacher, I remember her school much more clearly than others because of the remarkable community that she had developed around it.

The school reflected the values of the local community, and the needs and interests of the families whose children attended. The vege garden and the chooks were unusual, but reflected the reality of bush life, and the children took great care of them.

Sam was badly injured in an accident with a gyrocopter on 9th March 2011 and died eight days later. Carmel's narrative describes in confronting detail, his accident, the immediate aftermath, and her struggle with the trauma and grief that ensued.

The prose flows easily and honestly, and it is this flensing honesty that makes the book so powerful.

The author's love for her son shines through the pages, as does her love for the remote countryside in which it is set. Her strong family provides the human backdrop to the story, and her vivid descriptions of the physical landscape complement that.

Much of the book describes the author's attempts to get to the bottom of the tragedy, and her dawning understanding that her son was exposed to a very dangerous situation by the person who sold him the gyrocopter.

It concludes with a description of the legal consequences of Sam's death, and the author's arrival at the truth.

I strongly recommend this work as an account of a searingly honest journey through grief and trauma. The work itself is a fitting tribute to both Carmel Beresford's skill as a writer, and her undying love for her son.

Make sure you get hold of it.

Comments closed.

Blog Archive