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Unravelling Us by Renee McBryde

(1 customer review)

$29.99 EX GST $25.49 EX GST

  ‘Rarely does an author allow you to step inside quite like Renee does…Raw and ferocious in its honesty, Renee’s story is one few others can tell.’ Liz Hayes, 60 Minutes
‘I could not put this book down.’ Alice Pung, author of Unpolished Gem and One Hundred Days

In Unravelling Us, Renee delves into the most important relationship in her life, her mother, who gave birth to Renee when she was barely sixteen and living on the streets. Renee hopes that by doing this she can heal the pain of her own turbulent childhood. But the pent-up misery seeps its way into Renee’s life as her mum escapes into alcohol and the party life, unwittingly exposing Renee to a repeat of her own early life of neglect and abandonment.

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Description

In 2017 Renee McBryde published her best-selling memoir in which she learned she was daughter of a convicted murderer, a secret she was made to keep by her mother, shrouding her childhood and early adulthood.

In Unravelling Us, Renee delves into the most important relationship in her life, her mother, who gave birth to Renee when she was barely sixteen and living on the streets.  Renee hopes that by doing this she can heal the pain of her own turbulent childhood. But the pent-up misery seeps its way into Renee’s life as her mum escapes into alcohol and the party life, unwittingly exposing Renee to a repeat of her own early life of neglect and abandonment.

As a grown woman and child protection worker in Alice Springs, Renee is confronted with different mothering styles on a daily basis, which only serves to strengthen her resolve to break the cycle of abandonment and neglect that she herself suffered. Renee ponders the question: is it her father’s murders that she needs to run from? Or is it the parenting trauma that has been drowning her family generation after generation? And now that she is a mother herself, is it possible to stop that cycle affecting her own children?

Trying to reconcile her determination to forge her own path as a mother while being surrounded by echoes of her troubled past and obligations as a daughter to an increasingly fragile mother is almost impossible. And then the unthinkable happens…

Unravelling Us is a rare account that combines a gripping, page-turning story with an examination of what it means to be a ‘good’ mother against the backdrop of the one of the deepest and most chronic issues that affects Australia today, Indigenous child welfare.

 

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Additional information

Dimensions234 × 153 × 16 cm
Authors

Renee McBryde

ISBN

Unravelling Us ISBN 9780645265101

Release Date

May 2022

1 review for Unravelling Us by Renee McBryde

  1. Emma Rossi (verified owner)

    This is a book for anyone that is or has a mother. It’s hard not to read it and see a mother that you know staring back at you from the page. Sometimes it’s a little confronting, but Renee writes with such empathy and knowledge that you can see all sides to the complexity of what being a mother truly is. Especially if you come from a long line of trauma.

    Renee spends a lot of time looking at how trauma is a cycle passed down through multiple generations. And there is no one better to write about this than Renee whose own mother and grandmother experienced trauma that affected their abilities to be the mother their children needed or wanted.

    Renee lets the reader into the most intimate details about her relationship with her mother.
    Gemma is a woman that had Renee as a teen to a murderer who gets life in jail before Renee is even born. Nowadays, there would be social workers and charities knocking on her door, but back then Gemma had nowhere to go but home to a strained relationship with her mother when she needed someone to guide her through those pivotal early years with love. It’s easy to see throughout the book that Gemma really did try to do best by her children, but her own demons and mental health struggles were sometimes too much and she was unable to be the mother her children needed. But Renee writes from such a place that the reader doesn’t walk away shaking their head at Gemma. In fact, I felt a lot of empathy towards her and saw the love that Renee had for her mother, even if she herself (as the eldest sister) was sometimes left to do the mothering and pick up the pieces.

    Renee also scatters the book with stories from her work as a social worker, working with different mothers. I think this is a nice touch because it also is another way to show how trauma affects our ability to parent and that sometimes—no matter how hard we do or don’t try—we just can’t get it right.

    Sometimes I laughed and sometimes I cried while reading UNRAVELLING US, and there was even a moment where I had to put the book down and walk away.

    Renee takes the reader on the journey of a mother and daughter who had to grow up together. She shows us that trauma is generational, but we can change that. And Renee has done just that with her own four children.

    Unravelling Us was a book that I thought about for days after finishing it. Five stars!

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