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Publishers WeeklyNovelist Heller (The Secret Ingredient) is no stranger to illness; her father had brain cancer, her stepfather had complications from epilepsy, and she married a man with severe Crohn's disease. So readers might assume, Heller acknowledges, this is a "bad news book." But it is actually candid, informative, upbeat, and sometimes ribald. Heller discusses complex but essential topics—such as making nurses your friends and the competing demands of work and caregiving, frequently via mini-interviews with a relevant professional, such as an ER doctor (who explains why ER waits are so long), ICU nurse ("family members become our patients in a way"), or attorney (on getting patients to sign essential legal documents like advance directives). Her breezy tone strikes just the right note for difficult subjects like wishing your loved one would "disappear" and more practical discussions like why cooking for oneself is important. The array of perspectives adds a richness to the discussion. It's impossible to write a book like this without addressing the emotional issue of saying good-bye, but Heller characteristically follows that with an upbeat "silver linings" chapter. This is a useful book for patients and caregivers alike.
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