Paperback, 188 pages
When 14-year-old Claudia gets home one day to find her mother’s walked out, she doesn’t know what to think. “I can’t do this anymore” is hardly an explanation, and her dad is too busy with work to offer any insight into why his wife has left, nor does he seem to even take it seriously.
Her older brother Ben is no use either – he’s too busy hating school and being cool to bother even talking to her, unless he wants something, and her younger sister Julie is engrossed in her sulking and getting into fights.
Her friends have no idea about what’s going on – Beth might care, but with Christy never shutting up about her latest boyfriend it’s hard to get a word in edgeways, and anyway, maybe some things are better left within the family. Her mum leaving changes everything, and even if she does come back, nothing’s ever going to be the same ever again.
“… the plot, which sees 14-year-old Claudia trying to deal with her neglectful workaholic father, unhelpful older brother and difficult younger sister – is well developed…. The note on which the story ends will strike a chord with many young adults…”
(Celia Keenan, Sunday Independent)
“An enjoyable and thought-provoking book … it did not give any easy answers. Despite how irritating the father is, he is not made into a stereotypical “bad guy” and Claudia points out that she can understand his point of view. Nobody is shown to be completely “right” or “wrong”, so you end up questioning your initial impression of characters and trying to understand points of view that you would be inclined to dismiss as simply “wrong”.”
I wrote this book the summer after I finished secondary school, while I was still waiting for Leaving Cert results (for the non-Irish among you, those are the all-important results that determine your eligibility for college courses). Needing the distraction from the worry/angst/stress, I wrote 2000+ words a day, every day. The edits and revisions took longer than the initial writing.
My last few books had focussed very heavily on friendships and romantic relationships of older teenagers (Abi is sixteen, Emily is seventeen) and I wanted to write about a younger teenager, and have a story that focussed more on her family than on her friends (though they are important in this story) and her own romantic relationships (although other people’s do play a big part in this story). There is also mildly gratuitous referencing of my favourite poem, because “disturbing the universe” is one of my favourite themes. (I mean ‘theme’ in the vaguest, least English-teacher-preparing-you-for-exams sense possible…) Claudia’s mum does it when she walks out but Claudia herself is afraid to – at first, anyway.