Post Script: Undying: A Love Story – Michel Faber

Undying

Undying: A Love Story

 Michel Faber

Allen & Unwin

Canongate Books

ISBN: 9781782118541

RRP A$24.99

 

Description:

How can you say goodbye to the love of your life?

 

In Undying Michel Faber honours the memory of his wife, who died after a six-year battle with cancer. Bright, tragic, candid and true, these poems are an exceptional chronicle of what it means to find the love of your life. And what it is like to have to say goodbye.

 

All I can do, in what remains of my brief time,

is mention, to whoever cares to listen,

that a woman once existed, who was kind

and beautiful and brave, and I will not forget

how the world was altered, beyond recognition,

when we met.

 

 

 

My View:

How do you rate someone’s pain and anger and grief?

 

By the way the words touch your soul, by the way your heart aches as you read.

 

This is a an exquisitely personal, intimate study of cancer, dying, grief and the authors love for his now deceased wife; his life companion, his lifelong love…

 

Poignant, angry (justifiably so), yet at times romantic and tender. This is love in real life, in the everyday, in the moment – be it the ugly moments of cancer or the moments the lovers dance and twirl towards each other.

 

Beautifully written, brave and honest. The presentation is stunning

 

Post Script: Love Your Sister – Connie and Samuel Johnson

Love Your Sister

Love Your Sister

Connie &Samuel Johnson

Hachette Australia

Audible

Unabridged audio book 10 hrs 45 mins

ISBN: 9781510008496

 

 

Description:

How far would you go for someone you love…on a unicycle?

 

Brothers and sisters often dare each other to do things – it’s what siblings do. However, when Connie Johnson dared her brother, Samuel, to embark on a one-wheeled odyssey around Australia, she knew it was a big ask. But Connie knew exactly what she was doing and was sure he wouldn’t say no. Not this time.

 

Born a year apart, Connie and Samuel Johnson have always been close. Sam was by Connie’s side when she found out she had cancer at age 12 and again when she was diagnosed at age 22. Then, at 33, Connie was diagnosed with breast cancer, but this time she was told she would not recover. As a young mum faced with her own death, Connie wanted to find some meaning in the chaos. And so she dared Sam to help her.

 

Officially there were three aims: promote breast cancer awareness, raise more than $1 million for research – and break the world record for the longest distance travelled on a unicycle. However, Connie had a secret fourth aim: to fix Sam. She had no idea if any of it would work out. Neither did he.

 

Part memoir, part travel diary, part conversation, Love Your Sister is Connie and Sam’s inspiring, moving and unforgettable journey, told in their own distinctive voices. It’s a story of love, family, cancer – and the generosity of ordinary Australians.

 

About the authors: Samuel and Connie Johnson are the powerhouse brother-and-sister team who established the Love Your Sister charity. Samuel is an Australian actor with 20 years’ experience, best known for his work on The Secret Life of Us, Crackerjack, Underbelly II and Rush. In recent times he is more proud of his work as a breast cancer advocate and determined unicyclist.

 

Connie Johnson is a wife and mother of two beautiful young boys. She has worked in the disability sector for ten years and since her most recent diagnosis spends her time with her family and advocating for breast cancer issues…when she’s not busy seeing how much torture her brother will endure before he says no.

 

Warning: This audiobook contains some moderate coarse language.

 

©2014 Connie Johnson and Samuel Johnson (P)2015 Hachette Australia Pty Ltd

 

 

My View:

Poignant, inspirational, honest…this has it all.

 

Remarkable lives; remarkable courage, honesty, strength and love. This is a wonderful story of family, love and inspiration. Multiple tragedies inspire unselfish goals and such wonderful acts of individual heroism.

This family deserves….a long life together and to see their goal of financing the science that will help find a cure for breast cancer come to fruition. Unfortunately that long life together is most definitely not going to happen but that has not stopped this family from their journey to raise the funds to help this dream come true. Over two million dollars thus far and counting… Along the way Connie and Sam make memories that their families, friends and colleagues will never forget.

 

A poignant and very personal honest story that will leave you in awe of the strength of this family bond. I wish you all the very best as you continue to make the most out of every day.

 

 

 

Post Script: The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes – Anna McPartlin

 WOW!!! A fantastic read that connects to the very heart and soul of the reader. I am grateful, I am grateful.

The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes

Anna McPartlin

Random House UK, Transworld Publishers

Black Swan

ISBN: 9780552773744

 

 

Description:

Here is a truth that can’t be escaped: for Mia ‘Rabbit’ Hayes, life is coming to an end . . .

Rabbit Hayes loves her life, ordinary as it is, and the extraordinary people in it.

She loves her spirited daughter, Juliet; her colourful, unruly family; the only man in

her big heart, Johnny Faye.

But it turns out the world has other plans for Rabbit, and she’s OK with that. Because she has plans for the world too, and only a handful of days left to make them happen. Here is a truth that won’t be forgotten: this is a story about laughing through life’s surprises and finding the joy in every moment.

 

 

My View:

WOW!!! A fantastic read that connects to the very heart and soul of the reader. I am grateful, I am grateful.

 

For a work of fiction this had the voice of realism and heroism that transcends the subject matter- cancer and dying. And what a fantastic narrative voice – I cried big fat silent tears from the very first to the very last page – don’t get me wrong this is a not a saccharine sweet, over dramatized, over the top, excessively pessimistic story – this is a heart breaking, honest look at love, life, cancer and a family that holds your head above the waves and stops us from drowning….

 

I loved every soaking wet page of this novel. I loved all the characters in the novel with its dialogue so real and so crazy and funny, the connections that death could not break and the family that comes together and holds together when crisis sets in. This is a remarkable read, I don’t think a book has affected me like this since….I don’t think one ever has. As I read this book I chant in my head “I am grateful. I am grateful. For every day I am grateful.”

 

Do yourself a favour, read this book.

 

Post Script: A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness

This is a great book club read – guaranteed to arouse much discussion and emotion.

A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness from an original idea by Siobhan Dowd

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN: 9781406336511

 

Description:

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting — he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments.

 

The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth.

 

From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd — whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself — Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

 

My View:

This is a delight to read – fresh, interesting, heart breaking and engaging and so well written the pages fly by. I really enjoyed this modern day fairy tale and the messages it delivered. This novel speaks to all – young and old, healthy and not so…It speaks of the truths we find so hard to say out loud but should be saying regardless of the discomfit we may feel at the time. It speaks of the strengths we all have, even if sometimes those strengths are hidden deep within us and it speaks of the courage needed to speak the truth – to ourselves and out loud to those who need to listen and finally it speaks of the courage it takes to survive.

 

This is a beautifully written book told from the view point of a young boy – his voice innocent, beguiling and sometimes terrifying…and so so sad. This is a fast paced read, a narrative written with passion and compassion.

 

This book is best read with a box of tissues close by.

 

Post Script: Side Effects May Vary – Julie Murphy

Side Effects May Vary

Julie Murphy

Penguin Books Australia

Penguin

ISBN: 9780143571711

 

Description:

Written from the perspectives of both Harvey and Alice, in Side Effects May Vary, Julie Murphy weaves a compelling story of friendship, relationships and love, with a little bit of death thrown in for good measure; at least for a while.

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs. So she convinces her best friend Harvey, who’s loved her forever, to help with compiling a crazy ‘just-dying-to-do’ bucket list, that’s as much about revenge as it is about redemption. But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission. Now she must face the consequences of all she’s said and done and discover just what happens when we say our ‘final’ words, only to find that life isn’t through with us yet.

Sharp, witty and poignant – this is a book written for all ages.

 

My View:

A warm and moving read about growing up, understanding what real love (not infatuation) is and facing a death sentence. This is a very readable story full of real characters and real emotions. A coming of age story with a difference – Alice thinks she has only a short while to live and therefore risks everything to boost the numbers on her score card; she becomes selfish, hard and cruel and when the death is  sentence is removed she is lost and drifts like flotsam in the real world.

This narrative is every parent’s worst nightmare – I am really pleased it had a happy and redemptive ending. This story told from the two teenager’s perspectives, it flows freely and realistically. The language and conversations are engaging without being self-conscious. A delight to read.