About the Book:
You wake up alone after an emergency caesarean, desperate to see your child. And when you are shown the small infant in the nursery, a terrible thought takes root: this baby is not your baby.
No one believes you. Not the nurses, your father or even your own husband. They say you’re confused and delusional. Dangerous.
But you’re a doctor – you know how easily mistakes can be made. It’s up to you to find your real child, your miracle baby, before it’s too late.
With everyone against you, is it safe to trust your instincts? Or are memories from your past clouding your judgement? This can’t all be in your head . . . can it?
I was rather unprepared for how completely absorbing and incredibly unsettling this novel was. I thought I was in for an emotional read – and it was! – but the psychological thriller aspect caught me by surprise in the very best of ways. I’m pretty fussy with thrillers, particularly the domestic drama/psychological ones, but Mine ticked all of my boxes soundly. What a literary talent Susi Fox is! This is a cracking debut that is not only engaging but also intelligent, both in terms of its themes and its execution. The combined knowledge base of mother and medicine has proved particularly potent in the crafting of this novel.
I felt deeply unsettled while reading this novel. It raises a lot of issues that bear contemplating. I’m going to have to be a bit evasive within this review because there’s nothing worse than having a thriller spoiled, and this is definitely one story you want to go into without knowing the ending. However, there are some things I can comment on, so here goes.
Despite the fact that I am a woman who has been through childbirth three times, I still doubted Sasha, our main character, and I hate that I did that. Why did I do that? In part, I’m going to blame Susi, who is just such a great writer that she made me do it! Maybe, but I’m also thinking that I was responding in the exact way that Susi was pointing out as the problem: women are doubted more, dismissed more, and ignored more. I know this, but I still fell into the trap. I’m very annoyed at myself.
The treatment of women postnatal who exhibit even the slightest deviation from the expected norm, as depicted within this novel, appalled me, and as the novel progressed, actually horrified me. Already vulnerable on account of having just given birth and consequently being a melting pot of hormones, it was such a fine line between what was considered ‘normal’ and what was grounds for admission as a psychological patient, medicated and monitored before you can say ‘but I’m fine!’ Very scary stuff. Once this happens, you’re no longer in control of your own self, your own baby, or even the information about yourself you want kept private because it’s essentially got nothing to do with your current predicament. I hated that stripping of a woman’s rights. That in itself would be enough to prompt me to act irrationally.
I really appreciated how Susi gave her medical professionals that human element, people who make mistakes, get distracted by their owns lives, sometimes make assumptions, and often act upon instinct. Sasha’s own doubts about her professional actions in the past added a layer of authenticity to this novel that propelled it into a class of its own. All sorts of things I had never really thought much about suddenly pressed up against each other, crowding their way into my consciousness. I am still thinking about this novel days later. I’m really looking forward to bookclub discussions about it later in the month.
I wasn’t satisfied with the ending, but to clarify, I don’t mean that I didn’t like what Susi did with it – I did like that, very much. What I mean, and again, I have to be vague, is that in terms of casting the situation into real life, the resolution does nothing to address the problem: that women are viewed as doubtful, even when it comes to their own health and well-being. And that’s pretty grim.
Mine is an excellent novel and I highly recommend it. It’s written with a straightforward gritty honesty that adds a raw sense of dread and a more detailed investment for the reader. Susi Fox has firmly planted herself into Australia’s writing scene and I’m really looking forward to following her career.
Thanks is extended to Penguin Random House Australia for providing me with a copy Mine for review.
About the Author:
Susi Fox is a writer and GP from rural Victoria, Australia, who is currently completing her Associate Degree in Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT. She received a 2015 Varuna Fellowship and was a participant in the 2015 QWC/Hachette Manuscript Development Program. Susi commenced her Master of Medicine at University of Sydney in 2017. Mine is her first novel.