Dear Life: A Doctor’s Story of Love and Loss

Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Sept. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9781250764515. $28.99. MED
Clarke (Your Life in My Hands), a UK-based palliative care physician, looks at her life and career thus far in this intensely moving and personal memoir. From childhood accidents to feeling helpless while covering a terrorist bombing of a London nail salon as a TV journalist, to assisting injured people in the midst of her decision to become a doctor, the author also reflects on her medical education and calling to help people with a terminal illness live the remainder of their lives as fully as possible and to die with dignity and comfort. Along the way, she shares insight into her own story, and coming to terms with the realities of facing grief on a daily basis. Through it all, Clarke remains empathetic and personable. Toward the end, she describes how her father, also a physician, is diagnosed with terminal cancer, and how she takes leave from her job to assist him, and her mother, in his final journey.
VERDICT Clarke is a clear-eyed, compassionate storyteller, and the stories of her patients’ suffering and final moments—along with her father’s
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