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The Girls by Chloe Higgins


In 2005, Chloe Higgins was seventeen years old. She and her mother, Rhonda, stayed home so that she could revise for her HSC exams while her two younger sisters, Carlie and Lisa, went skiing with their father. On the way back from their trip, their car veered off the highway, flipped on its side and burst into flames. Both her sisters were killed. Their father walked away from the accident with only minor injuries.

This book is about what happened next.

Absolutely devoured The Girls by Chloe Higgins! The book explores how memories fade or distil over time, and how our recollections of events will always leave us with a sense of doubt, not about whether the memory was true, but the guilt we feel within ourselves that we can never fully understand. In this sense, The Girls is a memoir that is raw, honest, and gut-wrenching. It is a memoir that is not afraid to explore questions of shame, of guilt, of loss, and of open wounds. It is a memoir that discloses difficult truths and it reveals just how difficult memoir writing can be. Putting your family on the page exposes the private, intimate details of their lives in a way that can be ugly for everyone. But it also shows how memoir writing can be a form of healing, of coming to terms with a trauma that is sometimes so heartbreaking to bear. Put simply, The Girls successfully explores the importance of authenticity, the idea that a story doesn’t have to be ‘accurate’ or reflect ‘truths’, it just needs to be authentic to the experiences of the one living that story – or in Higgins’s case, the one making sense of trauma. I really enjoyed Higgins’s prose: it was simple and always felt me wanting more. I enjoyed the progression of the story, and I really liked how she was not afraid to be true to herself and her own experiences and feelings. However, I did ask myself why should I care? Not in an insensitive way; I just felt that I did not get a chance to connect with Higgins’s sisters to really understand the sense of loss Higgins felt upon losing them. While I related to the underlying theme of ‘the mother wound’, I still found it hard to reconcile Higgins’s feelings and reactions as a result of her mother’s own trauma. I wanted to know more about her family. I wanted to get invested in their lives before the lives of her two sisters were taken away. I did find that Higgins explored the emotional hurt of her father really well, and I felt the desperation they both had at trying to help each other deal with the death of the girls.

How would you rate this book?

  • Loved it!

  • It was alright.

  • Not a fan!

  • It's on my TBR pile.

Until next time,

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