The Things That Matter Most by Australian author Gabbie Stroud is an engrossing story with a realistic mix of drama, mystery, intrigue, and heartache.
St Margaret’s Catholic Primary School based in Boltford; Central NSW is in crisis. The school is due for registration and must meet all standards, but there is a serious pending litigation looming.
Told in a multiple-person narrative, the story switches between characters allowing you to become fully invested in each one and understand how the strands of the story come together. Even though it starts off with a basic premise of a school in crisis, the novel slowly builds up to something far more powerful.
I thought this book would be a light read, but it is far more than that surprising the reader with interesting developments and twists every step of the way. Gabbie Stroud creates an array of remarkably interesting and very loveable characters who all make the experience of reading the novel exciting and more elaborate. I thoroughly enjoyed being privy to their professional and personal lives.
For forty years, Derek the Assistant Principal has been teaching, now he must be accountable for all that he does since he dropped the ball on administration, heading into retirement he just wants to teach, not be micromanaged.
Starting his twelve-month contract Tyson was feeling nervous about his first year on the job and rightfully so. What types of students will he have, will they like him, and will he be accepted for who is?
Sally-Ann is an enthusiastic caring teacher, she is keen to spread positivity and genuinely enjoys engaging with students, her only wish is to have a child of her own.
Bev the administrative officer is dealing with a serious diagnosis, she is strong-willed and runs a tight ship — never holding back from speaking her mind.
Sixth-grade student Lionel Merrick’s compassion in the face of difficulty was admirable, he is such a sweet, beautiful, and likeable character, and I wished desperately that he would get the peace he craved. There is a good balance of heavy subject matter and lighthearted themes. The humour helps soften the sombre themes, and this balance is what is needed.
The author’s insight and imagination are beyond impressive, she has flawlessly captured the emotional turmoil of not only the lives of teachers and the difficulties they face but also what the child’s learning environment is like. Reading this book will make you cringe, shudder, cry and genuinely feel for the characters.
Undoubtedly, the world needs good teachers more than ever as it faces increasingly complicated issues that cannot be solved easily. Whether you are a parent, teacher, or someone considering becoming a teacher, you will benefit from reading this book.
The cover of the book lets readers know that something is not right. The imagery is striking with the beautiful sky and blending colour palette. If I saw it in a bookstore, it would grab my attention.
I cannot express how much I enjoyed this book; it is a hard-hitting story that will make you stop and think. Make sure you have tissues in reach, I highly recommend it.
A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading The Things That Matter Most by Gabbie Stroud. You can read their comments below, or leave your own review.
My love of books started at a very young age. My mum has always been a reader and encouraged me to read, buying me endless book from classic fairy tales advancing to the world of Enid Blyton, CS Lewis, Louisa May Alcott, Kathryn Kenny, Carolyn Keene, Francine Pascal. In my adult years the list of authors is endless and every room in my house is filled with books.
One of my favourite novels is Narnia which has always has a special place in my heart. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1978 and when I was given this book to read it let me escape to another world where I felt like I was in the book with all the characters, it wasfun and exciting to escape from reality and eased the ups and downs of the disease at such a young age.
In books nothing is impossible and there is endless potential and hundreds of places to explore or being taken to places that are only made up from the authors’ great minds, the past and future to navigate, characters lives you step into taking you on an emotional rollercoaster ride or being scared out of your wits. I can experience things that I can’t in real life because they’re not possible or real. It challenges my perspective and mindset expanding my worldview.
I find joy, comfort and peace with books, many people may not get it, but I know bookworms like me truly understand. Reading makes my heart happy.