Review: The Helpline by Katherine Collette

Title: The Helpline

Author: Katherine Collette

Published: Text Publishing September 18th 2018

Status: Read on Feb 9th, 2019

My Thoughts:

Collette’s debut, The Helpline, is similar in vein to recent popular novels such as Simison’s ‘The Rosie Project’ and Honeyman’s ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’.

Senior mathematician, Germaine, is a self proscribed expert in sodoku, the value of efficiency, and the immutability of numbers, but she is also uncomfortably socially inept, and awkwardly naive. Unceremoniously dismissed from her job of some fifteen years for reasons that she never quite articulates, Germaine finds herself working for the local council on the Senior Helpline, determined to prove her worth, and rebuild her career. Quickly singled out by the Mayor for a ‘special project’, Germaine is eager to please, especially when she learns that the project involves her childhood hero, former Sodoku champion, Alan Cosgrove aka Don Thomas. For Germaine, the need to resolve the Mayor’s standoff with the Senior Citizen’s Center, which happens to adjoin Don’s Golf Club, is a matter of responsibility and efficiency, until her equations are complicated by the unpredictable nature of the human factor.

Though Germaine is not always a particularly likeable character, I did warm up to her. Her neuro-atypical traits are never specifically identified but her different perspective is clear. The slightly eccentric supporting characters are varied, from feisty senior citizen, Cecelia Brown, to biscuit hoarder, Eva, and the inevitable love interest, bare kneed IT guy, Jack.

Generally, The Helpline was an enjoyable read. I liked the overall plot and it’s Australian setting, council going-on’s are actually a ripe setting for pathos, and humour.

Available to Purchase from

Text Publishing or your favourite retailer

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carole from Carole's Chatter
    Mar 10, 2019 @ 08:44:15

    Hi there, this looks like a good one. I hope you’ll have time to bring this over to Books You Loved: March so everyone can see it. Cheers from Carole’s Chatter



  2. Helene Young
    Mar 10, 2019 @ 11:48:09

    Welcome back! I’ve missed your reviews!



  3. Mystica
    Mar 11, 2019 @ 15:34:36

    I seldom get to the Australian setting. I think I’d like that too.



  4. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? | book'd out

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