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In a departure from its regular urban setting, this self-contained episode of Please Like Me has protagonist Josh and his mother Rose embarking on a five-day wilderness trek in the wake of the suicide of Rose’s friend Ginger. Rose reveals she is carrying a suicide note from Ginger that she hasn’t read. While the trek offers an escape of sorts from recent tragic events, Josh and Rose are forced to confront Rose’s own past attempts at suicide and their effects on Josh. Alone with each other in the spectacular Tasmanian landscape, mother and son find they have nowhere to hide.
This deceptively simple two-hander deals with suicide and mental illness with delicate poignancy and humour. Josh Thomas’s writing is spare, natural and searingly honest as he depicts a flawed but quietly intimate parent/child relationship, in which the roles are reversed due to Rose’s illness. The gentle humour springs from character, and the challenging themes are treated with humanity and insight. In Scroggin Thomas has deftly taken his original and endearing characters on a literal and metaphorical journey that is a delight to read.