Sunday, 28 April 2013

'Gift of Time' - Rory MacLean


‘Gift of Time’ by Rory MacLean is an honest, revealing and emotionally turbulent look into one family’s experience of cancer. Jean is diagnosed with the terminal illness and she, along with her son and daughter-in-law, Katrin, keep individual diaries during the last months of her life.

To say that I enjoyed the book is a somewhat grim statement, given that the content is true, but it was an enjoyable and compelling read. Cancer is something that has an impact on almost everyone’s life in some way and this is what makes ‘Gift of Time’ so appealing and enjoyable; to see how someone else has dealt with their experience and came out the other side.

The different diary entries in the book give the various viewpoints from those involved in Jean’s fight with cancer. Jean herself offers a first-hand insight into how her illness affects her physically, mentally and emotionally. Her voice is inspiring as she fights the disease and she is a character that I warmed to. Rory is her son and his entries are those that many of us could relate to the most; those of the relative who is powerless as he watches a loved one slowly fade away. His is the central voice throughout the book and his entries drive the narrative along forming a plotline. Katrin’s diary entries consist of how Jean’s illness makes her realise the fragility of life and provide inspiration to the reader to make the most of all they have.

You become part of the family whilst reading and are willing the MacLeans to battle on and reach the milestone of Marlie’s wedding. This deadline acts as a timer for the reader who knows that this may or may not come to fruition and so adds an element of suspense to the book.

This book is a thought-provoking and real account of the side of life we all experience but don’t always discuss. This book may be too heavy a topic for a holiday read but I would definitely recommend to others. A reading group would have many areas of discussion with this book, but it may be too sensitive a subject for some members.

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