The Things You Would Have Said

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 July, 2012, 12:00am


The Things You Would Have Said
by Jackie Hooper
Brilliance Audio (audiobook)

Tackle this book on a bad day and some of the letters will leave you in tears. Sparked by the unexpected death in 2009 of actress Natasha Richardson after a minor skiing accident, the book comprises missives written by people who have never had the chance to say what's been on their minds. Jackie Hooper contacted jails and retirement homes, among other places, to ask for contributions. The one rightly placed on the first page might take readers back to their school days, for some the most brutal period of their lives. Among declarations of love and regret, and apologies, the most unusual is addressed to 'Pancreatic Cancer' from someone called Susan, who declares war on the malignancy. 'This time it is my mum you're trying for,' she writes, but 'we are not backing down'. A couple of submissions by octogenarians concern Kristallnacht, the pogrom in Nazi Germany against Jews. Then there are letters of closure to pets ('To Gilly, You were the best dog I've ever had'). Joyce Bean and Fred Stella read the contributions, with Hooper providing the introduction in a jaunty voice.