Desert Isle Keeper
Truths I Never Told You
Truths I Never Told You is the latest offering from Australian author Kelly Rimmer. It’s the deeply evocative story of one woman’s quest to understand not only her past but the ways in which that past affects the life she’s currently living. Once I started reading, I hated putting the book down, and actually managed to finish it in less than twenty-four hours.
Beth has always been close to her father and her siblings. The youngest of three children, she possesses only hazy memories of her mother, who died in a car accident when Beth was not quite two years old. As an adult, Beth works as a child psychologist, a job she deeply loves. She and her husband have just had their first child, and although Beth is overjoyed to be a mother, there’s a part of her that worries she will make a mess of this whole parenting thing.
As if this inner turmoil isn’t enough, Beth’s father has been slipping deeper and deeper into dementia, and Beth and her siblings have finally made the difficult decision to move him into a nursing home where he can receive the care he needs. His house is empty now, and Beth, who is feeling a bit adrift given the stress she’s been under, offers to sort through her father’s belongings and get the place ready to sell. At first, no one thinks this is a very good idea, but Beth assures them she’s getting a bit bored with maternity leave and focusing on the house is just the thing she needs to help get her emotions back in check.
When Beth arrives to start cleaning out the family home, she is astonished to discover the door to her childhood playroom secured with a padlock – but the locked door is only the first surprise she encounters. Once she manages to get the door open, she finds piles and piles of miscellaneous junk, much of which seems to be trash. She’s understandably quite disturbed by the state of the room, and as she begins to sort through the clutter, her feelings of unease grow. What could have caused her extremely organized father to keep so much trash in this one room, and why are there crumpled up pages of what appears to be someone’s journal sprinkled throughout the mess?
Beth glances through the entries and is shocked to discover her long-dead mother is the one who wrote them. Suddenly, she’s been granted a glimpse into the life of this woman she barely remembers, and she’s honestly not sure how she feels about that. Still, the draw of the journal is too much for her to resist, and it’s not long before she’s completely immersed in the pages.
What follows is a story sure to appeal to any woman struggling with questions about her place in a confusing and often unfriendly world. As Beth finally begins to get to know the woman who gave birth to her, she’s forced to confront aspects of her own life she’s been ignoring for years. The author perfectly captures her sadness, her confusion, and eventually, her feelings of peace and acceptance, giving me the impression Beth was someone I could easily meet on the streets of my own city. Every nuance of our heroine is brought to vivid life on the page, and I found myself completely caught up in her emotional upheaval.
Postpartum depression is a major theme of the novel, and I was beyond pleased with the author’s handling of this difficult topic. She doesn’t use it as a mere plot device or as a way to elicit shock from her readers. Instead, she painstakingly illustrates the numerous ways the disorder can affect women from all walks of life, and although I don’t have personal experience with the condition, her depiction aligns well with other books I’ve read on the subject.
If you love books that really focus in on family dynamics, Truths I Never Told You will be right up your alley. The story is about Beth first and foremost, but her family relationships make up a huge part of her everyday life. It’s clear these characters love each other deeply, and although mistakes are made in their dealings with one another, that love shines through, evoking a feeling of overall rightness as I read. Families are complex and messy, and Ms. Rimmer captures all of this perfectly, making this a book I’m thrilled to recommend.