University of Queensland Press, $29.95 pb, 285 pp, 9780702259890
At first glance, Traumata seems to provide an exception to the rule not to judge a book by its cover. Featuring photos of the author’s mother, a woman in her forties, alongside photos of the young Atkinson on the precipice of adolescence, the cover portrays the filial relationship that is central in this memoir. But Atkinson’s exploration is much more kaleidoscopic than the cover suggests. While the familial bonds and betrayal hinted at in these pictures are evident in the book, the author is chiefly concerned with what lies outside the frame: namely, the social forces that shape our selves and our intimate relationships.