Wednesday, April 11, 2012

When all that's left of me is love ~ Book review

Linda Campanella lost her mother to cancer.

There's no other way to start this review than to rip that Band-Aid right off.

Her loss is expected, and therefore not surprising, as if you were reading a novel and became attached to a character - finding her to be the focus of the story - and then ultimately losing her so quickly that the pain is almost searing through you.

But her loss is real. Which is a whole different ball game when it comes to loss. And cancer. Effing cancer. (I mean no disrespect to the author or TLC book tours when I use the light-verbiage that represents something way less light than you see there.)

Cancer sucks. It's heart-breaking. It tears apart families as it steals away people you love.

I'm no stranger to cancer.

Perhaps that is why I agreed to do this review. I figured taking someone else's approach to a loss so first-hand would give me a different perspective. As Campanella's view expressed here was not that she was sharing her mother's road to dying - but her final year of living. Living beyond what was expected, and living instead of dying.

I think there is a part of me that should have known better. It is very difficult to review someone's personal story when written by themselves, in honor of their mother's memory. Removing my heart from the personal aspect of this book is hard - if not almost impossible - to do. Honestly, the only critique I can share is that there was slight overuse of the emails/letters written by the author. These seemingly took away from the ones she shared that were written by her mother. And the frequency in which we reviewed them took a bit away from the ones at the end of the book - which to me held the most importance. The most perspective.

Linda Campanella shared her innermost self here on these pages, and the most intimate knowledge of her family members, including her mother at her most vulnerable time. I feel she was respectful to her mother's memory, and her family's loss, and has likely captured the spirit of her mom all these years later.

I find it hard to recommend this book to someone who is experiencing a similar road to loss -- only because I think that letting go of someone you love, expectedly or not, is a rough road that belongs to the individual and the individual alone.

For someone to review this book after a loss similar to that of Campanella might be rough, as well, but would surely give them something to relate to.

Again, this story is not just a story. It's life. It's her life - and I respect her for sharing it in this manner. And I am truly sorry for her loss.

** I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review from TLC book tours. I was not compensated for this post and all expressed thoughts and opinions are completely my own. 


  1. Sounds like an interesting read. I'm definitely not in a place where I can read this right now, but maybe in a few years.

    On a side note - you're going to BlogHer?!?! Oh so jealous! That'll be fun!

  2. Cancer is one of those subjects that really is tough to read about because so many of us have been touched way too close by it.

  3. It's just a hurting topic, isn't it?

    (I appreciate how honest and transparent this review is!)

  4. OMG, I would not be able to read this book. I lost 3 people in my life to cancer, including my beloved MIL, and it still makes me sad. I can't read or watch anything that talks about cancer, I just can't handle it. I really hope the road to recovery is smooth for the author of the book, 'cause in my experience, it's pretty tough.

  5. An honest and heartfelt review and you are right, hard to critique when it's such a personal story. I can say I won't be reading it... I don't think I could.

  6. I know what you mean about having difficulty reviewing such a personal memoir as this one is. Thanks for taking the time to read it and share your thoughts.


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