Unravelling Us


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Pre-order your copy – out May 2022

‘Rarely does an author allow you to step inside quite like Renee does…Raw and ferocious in its honesty, Renee’s story is one few others can tell.’ Liz Hayes, 60 Minutes

In 2017 Renee McBryde published her best-selling memoir in which she learned she was daughter of a convicted murderer, a secret she was made to keep by her mother, shrouding her childhood and early adulthood.

In Unravelling Us, Renee delves into the most important relationship in her life, her mother, who gave birth to Renee when she was barely sixteen and living on the streets. Renee hopes that by doing this she can heal the pain of her own turbulent childhood. But the pent-up misery seeps its way into Renee’s life as her mum escapes into alcohol and the party life, unwittingly exposing Renee to a repeat of her own early life of neglect and abandonment.

As a grown woman and child protection worker in Alice Springs, Renee is confronted with different mothering styles on a daily basis, which only serves to strengthen her resolve to break the cycle of abandonment and neglect that she herself suffered. Renee ponders the question: is it her father’s murders that she needs to run from? Or is it the parenting trauma that has been drowning her family generation after generation? And now that she is a mother herself, is it possible to stop that cycle affecting her own children?

Trying to reconcile her determination to forge her own path as a mother while being surrounded by echoes of her troubled past and obligations as a daughter to an increasingly fragile mother is almost impossible. And then the unthinkable happens…

Unravelling Us is a rare account that combines a gripping, page-turning story with an examination of what it means to be a ‘good’ mother against the backdrop of the one of the deepest and most chronic issues that affects Australia today, Indigenous child welfare.

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