#BookReview: What A Shame by Abigail Bergstrom @AbigailBergstrm @HodderBooks

Hi everyone! Today, I have a book review for a read I picked up via NetGalley. This novel is from a debut writer, Abigail Bergstrom, and I’ll be looking out for more from this author >>>

Book CoverAbout the Book:

The idea of a curse was divisive, but the assertion that I had, for some time now, been ‘laden with something dark’ was disconcertingly unanimous.
I wondered if this was something you also saw in me, if that was why you left.

There is something wrong with Mathilda.

She’s still reeling from the blow of a gut-punch break up and grieving the death of a loved one.
But that’s not it.

She’s cried all her tears, mastered her crow pose and thrown out every last reminder of him.
But that’s not helping.

Concerned that she isn’t moving on, Mathilda’s friends push her towards a series of increasingly unorthodox remedies.
Until the seams of herself begin to come undone.

Tender, unflinching and blisteringly funny, What a Shame glitters with rage and heartbreak, and offers up the joy of self-acceptance through an extraordinary rite of passage to overcome the prickly heat of female shame.


My Review:


Thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for this Advanced Review Copy.

A Fantastic Debut Novel.

“At first there was drama and morbid excitement–all the morose trimmings that come with the early stages of mourning and grief.” … From this opening line, we are propelled into the life of a troubled woman in her twenties, who tries to deal with grief, flat sharing, and building a career.

Told in first person narrative, this book takes us into the very heart of the main character, Mathilda, and shows us her pain and grief in all its rawness. By 6% of the read, I had made so many notations for lines that resonated that I had to calm it down, lols. This novel is so realistic and true to life and addresses some stark societal issues such as male dominance, rape, domestic abuse, and sexual abuse (off-page). As the narrative unfolds, the reader soon comes to see that Tilda is hiding something big from herself, a thing she absolutely must deal with before she can truly heal. Below are just a few of those wonderful lines I mentioned above …

“There’s only so long those who love you can dampen their own happiness out of sensitivity for your misfortunes.”

And …

“You’re perfect the way you are. You just need to face your shit. He didn’t break up with you because you did something wrong.”

And …

“Her pregnant pause turns into a barren land where no words can propagate.”

Okay, okay, I’ll cease and desist now before I tell you the whole book! This read will make you cry laughing, and laugh from crying. And any difficult issues are dealt with sensitively, which makes it a much easier read than you might expect. I’m sure it won’t come as any surprise when I give this fabulous debut women’s fiction novel a solid 5 stars. For certain, I’ll be looking out for more books from Abigail Bergstrom.


NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER β€” Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! β€” An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS β€”Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA β€”Lots of issues with this book.

I’d love to hear what you think of this review. Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚


For anyone interested, here are the Amazon links …

UK … https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08R8XRTB2/

US … https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08R8XRTB2/

(Expected publication February 3rd, 2022)

26 Comments on “#BookReview: What A Shame by Abigail Bergstrom @AbigailBergstrm @HodderBooks

  1. What a compelling review, Harmony. This book sounds amazing, especially for a debut offering. The quotes you picked are great highlights of the author’s expertise. Thanks for the recommendation. πŸ™‚

    • Glad you enjoyed the review and quotes. This is an amazing read. Thanks, Diana πŸ’•πŸ™‚

  2. Many young female readers would resonate with those feelings, Harmoney. Only when they honestly deal with the guilt and shamefulness, their minds and hearts would be healed. This is a wonderful review and the book deserves a solid 5 stars.

  3. What a fabulous review, Harmony. And for a debut novel at that! Congrats to the author on a successful launch into the publishing world and thank you for sharing your thoughts. This one will definitely be on my radar!

  4. Great review, Harmony. The quotes you pulled are powerful ones, and the topics covered, equally capturing. Thank you. I’m adding this one to my list. πŸ’—

  5. Sounds like a really good read, Harmony, though some of the topics are ones I often avoid, for various reasons. I love your review, and the way you pick out lines that really grab your attention. (I do that, too.) The ones you shared were outstanding. I’m putting this on my Wish List, and waiting for a time when I’m in a better frame of mind to check it out. (I’m reading a lot of escapist stuff right now, as the past two years have really done a number on my emotions.)

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one, and I can tell from what you’ve shared that Abigail Bergstrom can really write! πŸ˜ŠπŸ’–

    • I’ll be looking for more from this author for sure. Here’s hoping this year is easier on the emotions, my friend. Hugs πŸ’•πŸ™‚

  6. This sounds emotional (both for the difficult subjects and the humour). The opening sentence hooked me, and I like the other quotes you pulled. Great review, Harmony!