Little Plum by Laura McPhee-Browne

Little Plum journeys through the life of Coral, who discovers she is pregnant after a one-night stand. Early on, she decides to keep the baby, following her secret desire to become a mother, and yet she refers to it only as different fruits as it grows bigger through the trimesters. At seven weeks, the baby is the size of a blueberry; at 12 weeks, a plum; at 20 weeks, a banana.

Despite her wish to have a child, she is terrified to admit she is indeed having a baby, as her mind battles with itself every day. Coral’s medication for her OCD doesn’t seem to work like it used to, no matter how much higher the dosage rises. Her mother’s disappointment – unhappy that Coral is almost 30 and single, now pregnant before marriage – haunts Coral, plaguing her dreams with dark and bloody thoughts. As her mind spirals further out of control, Coral clings onto whatever stability she has left, praying that it is still enough to save her.

Laura McPhee-Browne’s exquisite, velvety writing creeps up on you unexpectedly, and what initially feels solid can suddenly disappear all at once. Coral says at one point that the whole of her is ‘raw and uncomfortably tender’, which perfectly describes the experience of reading this book.

Little Plum is a deeply intimate insight into the mind of a woman who feels alone and scared, shedding light on some of the hardships of new mothers struggling with mental illness, and the sense of isolation it can bring. McPhee-Browne beautifully renders the love and attention Coral dedicates to her new baby, despite the challenges of her situation.

Cover image for Little Plum

Little Plum

Laura McPhee-Browne

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