Spanning three generations, The Long Goodbye takes us deep into the lives of an Australian family as they survive record-breaking floods, outlast epic droughts and face the unforgiving realities of life on the land.
This remarkable true story of grit and resilience depicts a family at their zenith, set against the spectacular backdrop of rural Queensland where life and death are never far apart. But not even the harshness of the Australian landscape can prepare them for what is to come.
Written with astounding lyricism, warmth and humour, The Long Goodbye is a deeply moving memoir about the unbreakable bonds of marriage, love and family. And it poses the most heartbreaking moral dilemma of all: when a loved one is suffering, is euthanasia the answer?
I didn't know anything about this book until I read Pam's story in the Good Weekend magazine supplement in The Age newspaper. This is much more than a story of how her father killed her mother then killed himself. It is about three generations of an Australian family living in Charters Towers in Queensland.
I would describe this memoir as an honest depiction of Australian country life in rural Queensland. I loved the Australian slang and the way life was back in the day. I did chuckle about the description of when the floods came and Grandma and the kids had to keep moving to higher ground, the image of Grandma (who was not a small woman) climbing out through the window making me smile. The story describes beautifully what it was like to be a girl at an all boys' school; the challenges of living through drought, flood, losing animals that were pets, courting and strict rules with parenting; but overall, it is about family.
The last part of the book deals with Pam's mother's rapid decline with dementia and moving to a hostel with her husband who was a campaigner for euthanasia. Her father was 10 years older than her mother and at the age of 94 decided that his wife was not there any more, and as she had no quality of life left he made the decision to end her life, then his own a month later. Despite the controversial subject within this memoir, it was a great read.