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What a Shame

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Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781529367058

Price: £19.99

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Adults meets little scratch in this bold, funny and tender debut, which captures the pain of heartbreak and the universal heat of female shame through a very unique journey towards self-acceptance.

‘Absorbing and clever, I fell in love with Mathilda’
Cathy Rentzenbrink

The idea of a curse was divisive, but the assertion that I had, for some time now, been ‘laden with something dark’ was disconcertingly unanimous.

I wondered if this was something you also saw in me, if that was why you left.

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, an offers up the joy of self-acceptance through an extraordinary rite of passage to overcome the prickly heat of female shame.

(P) 2021 Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

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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
An intelligent, moving and darkly comic debut, taking us deftly from serious explorations of trauma and consent to riotously funny scenes of modern life - it's like Fleabag with a sprinkling of the occult.
The Sunday Times
Dazzling . . . By turns funny, sharp, raw and overwhelming, this is one of those novels where you think you are exploring someone else's pain, only to realise you are actually exploring your own
Read of the Week, Heat
Tipped to be THE hit book of 2022
Daily Mail
Bergstrom's prose, and especially the core dynamic of Mathilda and her friends (a coven of voice notes and anxious love) has a sweet verisimilitude that is delightfully frank, (re)inscribing warmth and intimacy for warmth and intimacy's sakes. And if it all seems a bit familiar - the millennial hodgepodge of tarot, bad dates, housemates and female trauma - well, maybe this is also the point. Maybe these stories are more common than we want to believe.
The Skinny
[A] wry, poignant meditation on female shame, healing and friendship
Culture Whisperer
What a Shame is an absorbing experience; the story is strange yet brilliant . . . it's dark and raw and funny, with a woman on an emotionally engulfing journey at its centre . . . like Sorrow and Bliss on acid . . . A real gem.
Well Read with Anna Bonet
Alternately haunting and hilarious . . . an original and zeitgeisty story about grief, friendship, secrets, shame and self-acceptance.
Daily Mail
It's LOL, ever-so-relatable and will also have you weeping into a snotty tissue. Love, love, love
Cosmopolitan
A modern story of grief and loss
Refinery29