Review: What can I do to help?

I’ve just finished reading What can I do to help? by Deborah Hutton, and it might seem like a strange thing to say, but I really enjoyed it! The book is subtitled 75 practical ideas for family and friends from cancer’s frontline. As the subtitle suggests it’s a collection of specific things to do for cancer patients and their carers that will help them through what might be a very tough time.

What gives it it’s special qualities is the structure of the book. The author, Deborah Hutton, was diagnosed with lung cancer that had spread to her bones. Her experience of the shock of diagnosis and everything that followed forms the central theme of the book. Interspersed with her experience you get the 75 practical ideas and snippets of from a wide range of sources who’ve been in similar cirumstances; including Hugh Grant and Tony Benn. The result of this collage of ideas and anecdotes is a book that is easy to read, practical, humorous and in places very moving.

The book is divided into sections:

  • Immediately after diagnosis
  • What should I say?
  • During treatment
  • Practicalities
  • Searching …
  • When the going gets tough
  • Suvivorship

All the advice that is given is sensible and accommodates the wide range of reactions to cancer from different people. Some of the tips won’t apply to all cancer patients or carers, and the author reminds you that you’ll have to use your own good judgement about what do and when, but if you’d like some hints, tips and perspectives this is a great place to look.

P.S. All the author royalties are being donated to Macmillan Cancer Relief

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