You Belong Here is by Australian author Laurie Steed. The story begins in 1972 with Jen and Steven at the beginning of their married life. As the years passed everyday life overwhelmed them and their family fell apart.
Jen and Steven married young. Full of hope for the future, they moved from Melbourne to Perth when Jen was pregnant with their first child. The lack of family support for the young couple in Perth wasn’t touched on in the story but in real life, that would probably have been a reason why several years later when they had three children, Steven and Jen were feeling emotionally distant from both each other and their children and she was having an affair.
Soon after Jen’s affair became known to Steven he moved out of the family home and returned to the east coast of Australia for work. Like many children whose parents separated, Alex, Emily and Jay suffered terribly from the disintegration of their family.
Alex was a gorgeous boy whose heart was broken when his best friend suicided as a teenager. As an adult Alex struggled to remain emotionally connected to his family and other people in his life.
Emily seemly coped better with the loss of her father and her mother’s emotional distance, but as the story progressed she continually made poor choices in her relationships with family and boyfriends.
Jay, the baby of the family, needed professional help for his mental health by the time he was a teenager, something that at that time brought with it an enormous stigma, an aspect which was not considered in the story telling.
The story moved quickly through the years and passed from one family member to another.
I think a reader who knows and loves Perth would feel at home in this book. I liked that the story ended with hope for the characters and that despite their individual and family disfunction, they still recognised they were a family.
My purchase of You Belong Here by Laurie Steed went towards fulfilling my New Year’s resolution to buy a book by an Australian author during each month of 2020 (September).
I ordered this book from Margaret River Press.