The Loudness of Unsaid Things by Hilde Hinton. (2020).
**3 out of 5 stars**
Miss Kaye works at The Institute. A place for the damaged, the outliers, the not-quite rights. Everyone has different strategies to deal with the residents. Miss Kaye found that simply being herself was mostly the right thing to do. Susie was 7 when she realised she’d had her fill of character building and how quickly things change, like how they needed to move back to the city. Her mum didn’t move to the new house with them and Susie hated going to see her at the mind hospital. As the years passed, there were so many things Susie wanted to say but never could. Miss Kaye will teach Susie that the loudness of unsaid things can be music – and together they will learn that living can be more than surviving.
So I couldn’t quite work out initially what the time period was but I think Susie’s time began in mid 1970s and Miss Kaye was at least mid 2000s but later on I thought maybe it was more like 2020; I could very well not have gotten this right though haha. The narrative alternates between Susie and Miss Kaye with their relationship connection becoming clear in the last quarter of the book. I felt for Susie, it was obvious that her mother’s mental illness had led to a traumatic childhood for Susie with long lasting effects. I also felt like Miss Kaye was a very empathetic worker at the Institute who saw the residents as humans dealing with issues that we would all struggle with. I did feel like the end of the book was quite abrupt and we missed a lot of Susie’s story; I would have liked to have known more about Susie beyond where we left her.
It is interesting that so far on Goodreads people are either loving this book or really disliking it. I am planting myself firmly in the middle: I didn’t love it but I did like and appreciate it.