Title: Gift of Time
Authors: Rory Maclean with Joan and Katrin Maclean
Reviewer: Helen Simkins, clinical nurse manager, St Giles Walsall Hospice
What was it like?
The Gift of Time looks at the viewpoints of people with cancer and their families, considering how they are affected by living with the condition. After being diagnosed with terminal cancer, Joan moves in with her son Rory, who is the author of the book, and his wife Katrin. It is from here that each keeps a diary that documents their day-to-day struggles, emotions and personal anguish. The Gift of Time is an honest, frank and sometimes difficult account of a family’s experience of the journey from diagnosis of cancer through to the death of a loved one. It is a moving account of how a family comes to terms with the reality of losing a close relative and the adaptations and sacrifices that are made throughout their journey.
What were the highlights?
The book makes the reader feel that they have been invited to share in a family’s most private of journeys. It draws you into the emotion, pain, anger, despair and joy that are felt by the three people, and allows for an understanding of how a diagnosis of cancer not only affects the patient but the family, friends and carers.
Strengths and weaknesses?
The format is a personal experience being written as a diary. It allows the reader a sense of participation and draws them into the family’s life, sharing in their pain, sadness and moments of happiness. It is also this personal approach to documenting their journey that sometimes feels intrusive, as the reader becomes part of their private moments. However, the book manages to get the balance right, allowing this to be a life-affirming, inspiring and hopeful read that leaves you in awe of the tremendous experience that each has been through.
Who should read it?
This edition would appeal to a large audience. It will give nurses a greater understanding of the plights that patients and families go through on a day-to-day basis when dealing with a terminal illness. The book would also appeal to anyone wanting to gain a more insightful view on how families deal with the loss of a loved one.