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Summary

It takes courage to love the things of this world when all of them, without fail, are fleeting, fading, no more than a spark against the darkness of deep time. Yet when everything you have been and done and meant to the world is being prised from your grasp, human connections are the vital medicine. It is other people who make the difference. 

Rachel Clarke grew up spellbound by her father's stories of practising medicine. Then, as a doctor herself, one who specialised in palliative medicine, she found herself contemplating all her training had taught her in the face of her own beloved father's mortality.  

Dear Life is the inspiring, sometimes heartbreaking and yet deeply uplifting story of the doctor we would all want to have by our side in a crisis. The hospice where Rachel works is, of course, a world haunted by loss and grief, but it is also teeming with life. 

If there is a difference between people who know they are dying and the rest of us, it is simply this: that the terminally ill know their time is running out, while we live as though we have all the time in the world. In a hospice, therefore, there is more of what matters in life - more love, more strength, more kindness, more smiles, more dignity, more joy, more tenderness, more grace, more compassion - than you could ever imagine. 

Dear Life is a love letter - to a father, to a profession, to life itself. 

©2020 Rachel Clarke (P)2020 Hachette Audio UK

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A wonderful, sensitive and kind reflection

This is a masterpiece of both patient and doctor's emotional journey and reflection on death. The raw emotions and sensitivity to her patients can be felt from the on start. A truly kind, compassionate doctor who sees things from both angles having been through it . I would highly recommend this book. A thought provoking listen.

4 people found this helpful

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Well worth reading!

This book is the latest from Dr Rachel Clarke. It reflects her intelligence, warmth & compassion as she talks candidly of both her private & professional lives & how they intertwine.

Her retelling of events & of people whose lives & deaths have become a part of her own life is never maudlin.

It is compassionate, sensitive, witty & insightful.

Trust me, you'll see mortality in a new, less scary light after reading this.

3 people found this helpful

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Heartbreaking

Superb book. Well written and well read. Lots of information. Insightful and engaging. Five stars

2 people found this helpful

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Deeply personal insight into the end of life

Strange that it is so unusual to hear somebody speak at such length about something which will happen to everybody. For that reason alone, I found this to be an important book. Excellent writing. There are some beautifully lyrical sentences in this book -- so much so that I sometimes wished I was reading it rather than listening, so that I could underline certain passages which really struck me. The narrator has a sometimes strangely clipped way of speaking, but overall she handled the gravitas of the subject well.

1 person found this helpful

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Beautiful and moving

a wonderful look at life and death. Rachel has a beautiful reading voice. one of the best books I have listened to.

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WONDERFUL AND LIFE CHANGING FOR ME!

What a wonderful book. I have always feared death, not sure why? This book made me re-evaluate my thoughts and realise I was being irrational. So moving. I really would have liked to be have been able to contact the author to say "well done, great job, not just the fabulous book, but your job in a hospice". One book everyone should read!

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An incredible book.

My partner has advanced cancer. This book provides support, insights, information and understanding about what my partner and I are likely to face. It was emotional, poignant and essential reading. An incredible book.

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A worthwhile listen, sometimes moving

This book contained some wise insights and was moving at times. I appreciate understanding more about how life ends and the value of living in the moment.
I found the narration a little over earnest though; and the language a bit repetitive. For some reason I didn’t warm to the author/narrator, even though she’s clearly a good kind doctor and daughter. Worthwhile but not one of my favourite audiobooks.

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Astounding…

This book attempts to put into words - love. The scenarios and stories capture the most precious moments in life and convey to the reader heartfelt, raw emotion.

The eloquence of the writer is superb and should be read and reflected on by everyone especially those of us involved in end of life care. Thank you Rachel.

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A book that made me rethink my priorities

Rachel Clarke shows great courage in addressing unflinchingly the vital matter of end of life care. Paradoxically, this is a life affirming and sometimes joyful book. She refuses to be clinical and disengaged , enabling her patients to live as fully as possible. She expresses fierce empathy for the unique lives of her patients. I was frequently moved to tears by this book.