Written in the of months immediately following her beloved mother’s death, Linda Campanella’s memoir recounts the year leading up to her mother’s death. Diagnosed with Stage IV cancer at the age of 73, Campanella’s mother, Nancy Sachsse, is suddenly faced with the impending finality of her illness. The family reels from the shocking news, but quickly decides to help Nancy spend her precious final months living, rather than dying.
Told through an interesting mix of first-hand recollections and the reprinting of personal emails between family members, Campanella takes readers back on that grief-stricken journey her family faced. Nancy ended up living a year and a day after her initial diagnosis, and although the family was grieving, they were also determined to help her live life to the fullest. The incorporation of the emails into the narrative was particularly poignant; readers get to see some of the family’s devastation at its rawest, but they also get to see how the family planned to rally around Nancy even as they struggled to come to terms with their loss.
Though I had a feeling that religion would be woven in, I wasn’t expecting religion/spirituality to take up an entire section of the book, nor was I expecting poetry to take up such a significant portion of it; admittedly, neither of those topics is of particular interest to me. So ultimately, this memoir wasn’t for me. That said, the book is well-written and heartfelt, and the love that the family has for Nancy (and for each other) pours off the page. While I might not be the book’s ideal audience, it does definitely have reader appeal, and I can think of of several people I personally know who would love this memoir.
When All That’s Left of Me is Love was released on August 2, 2011 by Tate Publishing. This book is on tour right now, so check out what other bloggers are saying about it.