My head in a book – In my skin, a memoir – a review

A book written by Kate Holden.

I started reading it and then I wanted to put it down almost immediately. And I did.

Kate Holden's maiden book

Kate Holden’s maiden book

Kate Holden’s In my skin a memoir is her first book. Published in 2005 it’s not a new book, but as one of the Mudgee Readers Festival authors, curiosity was killing my hypothetical cat and I had to buy it.

In my skin is an insight and an unveiling of Kate’s soul.

Like a car crash that you just can’t look away from, I kept looking. I kept reading. I had to know if there was hope.

It got worse.

It was dark, depressing with nowhere to go and no way forward. Alcohol, marihuana and then the heroin. Puncturing fresh skin, time after time until the skin is scarred and tiny rocks are being cooked with sterile water on coffee teaspoons.

Disconnected from her family and then her friends, a number of unsuitable similarly heroin addicted men follow and so does prostitution. Street corners, parks and public places become Kate Holden’s workplace.

Then hope makes an unlikely appearance in an invitation to a brothel returning to Kate a sense of place, of community and belonging. A reason to say goodbye to a life that was hers for five years.

An honours school graduate from a good home, I was sure Kate would find her way back and she does. She has gone on to write The Romantic, a sequel to In my skin and to have a gorgeous little boy who I got to hold briefly at the Mudgee Readers Festival where Kate was a speaker. Kate has spoken at many Writers Festival’s and her decent into addiction was charted on ABC’s Australian Story.

The literary focus in Kate Holden’s life continues in her choice of partner in life and love, Tim Flannery, the acclaimed climate change author among other genres.

This is a confronting read and definitely not the pick if you’re after something lighthearted. If you want to spiral down into a black hole that provides a pin prick of light and redemption at the end of the tunnel, then you must pick up In my skin and start reading.

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