This was a heartbreaking read that actually had me in tears at the end. I know. Me, the Ice Queen, in tears.
Hedda was a really sympathetic character. I often find it hard to empathise with characters with eating disorders, but that wasn’t the case here. This was one of those books that wrapped me up so completely that I genuinely felt I was there. The writing was just the right amount of descriptive to let me feel like the characters were real and that I was actually in Hedda’s dingy flat.
The plot first goes through Hedda’s pregnancy and then the months after where Hedda is struggling to look after herself and her baby in a depressing tower block flat on benefits. The story deals not only with eating disorders, but also the way we as a society treat young single mothers (*narrows eyes at Daily Mail and Tory party*), about our social care system (which is actually portrayed really well) and about what it’s like to live on screw-all money a week.
This was unusual for a contemporary in that there was no real romance storyline, and it was all the better for it. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a romance thread, but having a guy come in being all, ‘Let my love be the cure for your eating disorder!’ would have detracted from Hedda’s journey and taken her strength away.
Instead of romance, we see quite a lot of Hedda’s family life and how this has affected her decisions over the years. Although Hedda claims not to have a reason for her eating disorder, the more we see of her family, the more everything starts to click into place.
All i all this was a total emotional roller coaster. As we watch Hedda fall back into Nia’s grip after her baby is born, I just wanted to reach through the pages and give her a damn good shake and scream at her to look after herself and her baby properly. I was sobbing, like actually sobbing at the end, but don’t let this put you off. Hedda’s story is sad and horrific but it’s ultimately hopeful.
I received a copy of Countless from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.