Losing February is Susanna Freymark’s debut novel. The story is told from the perspective of Bernie, a writer and recently divorced mother in her early 40s, who lives on a hilltop near Byron Bay. The book is divided into three parts – Love, Sex and Home. In part I (Love) Bernie reconnects with an old university friend, Jack, and a passionate affair begins. Alas, Jack is married with children and will not leave his wife. When he inevitably ends the relationship, a rejected Bernie turns to the dangerous world of internet chat rooms. Part II (Sex) graphically details several meaningless and often twisted sexual encounters that Bernie has with strangers. Although necessary for the storyline, aspects felt overpowering and bit too Fifty Shades of Grey for me. Losing February is definitely an emotional roller-coaster. Whilst most could relate to its broader themes of love, sex and longing, I never truly empathised with the main character. Perhaps women in their late 30s or older, or those who have dealt with similar experiences, would be better able to relate to this book. Nevertheless, it is well written and Freymark’s use of sensory details really makes the settings come alive. If you finish this book unsatisfied, re-read the first chapter which is set after the main events of the story, and you may feel a better a sense of closure.
Susanna Freymark is a full-time journalist and UTS Master of Arts in Creative Writing graduate. Her short stories have been featured in numerous publications, including previous editions of the UTS Writers’ Anthology.
This review was first published in the UTS U: Magazine May 2013.