Family relationships are at the heart of Truths I Never Told You which is narrated by three women. Kelly Rimmer has cleverly crafted a story spanning three generations which will resonate with both women and men. We are shown political and social changes which have only been brought about by intense pressure and courage. Abortion and contraception are two topics which are elaborated in a family setting.
Another topic dealt with is Post-Partum Depression. Although Beth, who narrates the story from 1996, is a psychologist, she is unable to see that her anxiety is much more intense than normal. After all, she has a new baby: a much- loved father who has dementia and has to be moved into Care. Of course, she is going to be anxious! It takes a great deal of love and support from her family to convince her that she is unwell.
All of this begins to unravel as Beth starts to sort out her Father’s home. She finds notes from her Mother and her Mother’s Death Certificate showing when she died. Beth and her siblings remember their Mother fondly.
Turn the clock back to Beth’s mother, Grace, who narrates the story from 1957. She has a similar condition, but has had no contraception and no family support. With four children under four years, a pregnancy now would destroy her. Grace married Patrick, who was a thoughtful man, but found it difficult to cope with the chaos at home and lack of money. It became easier for him to stay later at work and then go to the pub with his mates for a few drinks before coming home.
While drawing attention to attitude changes over the generations, the Rimmer examines each topic enmeshed in the family story. She does this with thought and “What- ifs.” We read this with a sense of gratitude that times have changed, although many still are uncomfortable when addressing mental health crises within the family.
This is a personal look into a caring family and shows how important it is to listen to each other and look after each other. It is saved from being a dark tale by the closeness and love of the family, and the mystery that needs solving.