The Way I Used To Be was a book recommended to me that I read in equal parts horror and amazement. The Last To Let Go takes a similarly tough topic – though less talked about – and is equally challenging to read.
The explosive first chapter introduces us to our main character, Brooke, returning home to find police swarming her neighbourhood. Her mother has stabbed her father, with her little sister the only witness.
Suddenly everything Brooke thought she knew has been turned upside down. Nobody wants to acknowledge the hidden abusive side to her father, and the impact his behaviour had on the rest of the family. Her mother is in prison, and the three children are all struggling to live with what has happened.
What I found intriguing about this was Smith’s focus on Brooke and her life after this event. We see her coming to terms with her sexuality, developing her relationship with her siblings and taking tentative steps to develop her sense of identity.