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‘A riveting read about heartbreak, shame and self-acceptance’
Red Magazine, Rising Stars of 2022

‘A really beautiful portrayal of female friendship’
Laura Hackett, Times Radio

‘Absorbing and clever . . . I fell in love with Mathilda’
Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love

‘Full of heart, wit and feeling’
Caroline O’Donoghue, author of Promising Young Women

‘Utterly brilliant’
Otegha Uwagba, author of We Need to Talk About Money

‘A glorious new talent has arrived’
Emma Gannon, author of Olive

‘Poignant, haunting (and hilarious!) . . . A clear-eyed heroine for a new generation’
Sam Baker

‘Fizzes with energy, rage and love, burrowing deep into those experiences that define us at our core’
Jessica Moor, author of Keeper

‘A brilliant debut’
Cariad Lloyd

‘Will be read for years by any and all young women looking for a friend’
Scarlett Curtis

There is something wrong with Mathilda.

She’s still reeling from the blow of a gut-punch break up and grieving the death of a loved one.
But that’s not it.

She’s cried all her tears, mastered her crow pose and thrown out every last reminder of him.
But that’s not helping.

Concerned that she isn’t moving on, Mathilda’s friends push her towards a series of increasingly unorthodox remedies.
Until the seams of herself begin to come undone.

Tender, unflinching and blisteringly funny, What a Shame glitters with rage and heartbreak, perfect for fans of Emma Jane Unsworth, Dolly Alderton and Holly Bourne.

Reviews

Absorbing and clever . . . I fell in love with Mathilda
Cathy Rentzenbrink
A painfully exquisite book, by a unique talent that has single handedly rewritten the narrative of female shame
Camilla Pang
A book that simultaneously punches you in the gut and makes you snort with laughter. It's beautifully raw in its delivery. A glorious new talent has arrived
Emma Gannon
Tender, searingly honest and widely vulnerable. I couldn't stop reading
Angela Scanlon
Dark, nuanced and provocative, this is a sterling debut that fans of Caroline O'Donoghue, Holly Bourne and Emma Jane Unsworth are sure to love. Mathilda's chilling - but ultimately redemptive - story will stay with me.
Laura Jane Williams
What a Shame fizzes with energy, rage and love, burrowing deep into those experiences that define us at our core. Bergstrom writes with wit and wisdom, and Mathilda's voice is ever-incisive, fresh and compelling.
Jessica Moor
What A Shame weaves eternal themes of grief and heartbreak against a modern canvas that is clear and recognisable. There's a piercing sense of what happens when your tragedy becomes your anecdote, and your anecdote becomes tiring to the people around you. Full of heart, wit and feeling, Bergstrom is a new voice but sure to be an enduring one.
Caroline O'Donoghue
Truly captivating, blisteringly funny, so clever and perceptive and beautifully written. It made me want to voicenote all my friends immediately. I loved it!
Lauren Bravo
A wry and zeitgeisty look at grief, heartbreak and the fix-you industry, What a Shame asks whether we can ever expect closure from our worst and most secret pain and fear. A must-read for anyone who has ever felt defined by a break-up.
Harriet Walker
Raw and unexpected and weird and utterly brilliant
Otegha Uwagba
Raw, poignant, haunting (and hilarious!)... In Mathilda, Bergstrom has created a clear-eyed heroine for a new generation.
Sam Baker
Abigail Bergstrom's assured debut is a forensic excavation of the female psyche - on friendship, grief, and the secrets we keep to survive.
Laura Bailey
As soon as I finished the final page of What a Shame a deep ache set in. Written by one of the cleverest and boldest writers I've ever read, it is a powerful, beautiful, fascinating novel that will be read for years by any and all young women looking for a friend. I already miss Mathilda.
Scarlett Curtis
My favourite kind of book: the kind that you can't help but race through, leaves you immediately devastated when you finish it and envious of everyone who has yet to read it.
Dr Soph
A brilliant debut
Cariad Lloyd
Razor-sharp, compelling and darkly funny. An extraordinary novel that will stay with me for a long time.
Laura Kay
Affecting, clever and blisteringly humorous... a riveting read about heartbreak, female shame and self-acceptance
Sarra Manning, Red Magazine
Dark, complex and very funny. A dazzling debut about the power of self-belief, sisterhood and letting go
Hannah Tovey
An absolute corker - tender, sexy and weird. I can't wait to see what she writes next
Michelle Thomas
A book that beautifully balances the light and the dark. I loved spending time with Mathilda, a heroine who's funny, wise, wonderfully weird and brave, and who feels like a friend.
Chloë Ashby
Crackles with wit and emotional insight . . . so good on tangled webs of feeling, the power of female friendships, and hope
Emma Hughes
I fell hard for Mathilda and her tale of heartache, grief and acceptance. Like most of us, she's a bit weird and a bit wild, and you'll be so glad you met her.
Laura Pearson
A beautiful, raw story of self-acceptance and shame that haunted me until I finished the last page. Reading Abigail's debut captured the pain and release that comes with laughing at a funeral. I swallowed the story in big gulps and will push it towards my friends. An ambitious, beautifully balanced novel that manages to strike laughter and heartache in equal measure.
Abigail Mann
Hits the nail on the head . . . above all it's a really beautiful portrayal of female friendship.
Laura Hackett, Times Radio
Comparisons to Sally Rooney are inevitable, but this heartfelt, sharp-yet-tender novel earns its own place in the spotlight
Erin Kelly