‘Countless’ by Karen Gregory

/5 stars

Published by Bloomsbury!

Hedda is fading away, but a bucket list given to her by her passed friend from the unit means she has to ask herself a pretty big question. Can she put Nia, her eating disorder, on hold for nine months? Nine teeny tiny months for the sake of the baby. She’s already twenty-odd weeks gone, so really it’s not even that bad? Because it turns out one first time drunken fumble can lead to one very unexpected surprise. Still, Hedda doesn’t fathom quite what it’ll be like to hold her little girl for the first time, or how her feelings will grow for the boy in the flat next door, who has a penchant for gardening and cooking her food. Or how difficult it will be to relinquish control and just stop the constant counting.

The telling of Hedda’s story felt very raw and gritty. You could almost feel the chill slicing between the gaps in her bones, the utter turmoil she was gradually falling into and just how lonely her shell of a home had not just become but always been. And I think Karen Gregory managed to achieve something quite remarkable, because although ‘Countless’ was told from the first person perspective of Hedda, nothing about her eating disorder was glamorised. You felt the sickness there rooted in her mind, even with the personification of Nia. You related to Felicity’s grim expressions, even if everything in you was screaming to somehow help this girl. The reality was, though, Hedda had to make the choice to help herself, or, at the least, help her daughter.

It was such a harrowing read, that I’m honestly a little at loss for words. It was gripping and heartbreaking. There is also a special place in my heart for stories dealing with issues like mental health that don’t use the romantic interest as a crutch for getting better. Although I loved Robin and I wanted him to stick around forever, Hedda needed to go it alone and fix herself. And, although what felt, to me, like quite an obvious plot twist with regards to Robin, I liked the idea that it pushed Hedda to put Rose before anyone else, even before herself, as Robin’s decision seemed to allude to, too.

A gorgeously achey story about hitting rock bottom and getting mud all over your shoes, of young motherhood, and of maybe, gradually, shooting up and growing from the soil that you’d once got stuck in.

Thank you to Bloomsbury  for this review copy!*

‘Countless’ is out now to buy!

Currently listening to #2


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