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Dear Life: Book summary and reviews of Dear Life by Rachel Clarke

Dear Life

A Doctor's Story of Love and Loss

by Rachel Clarke

Dear Life by Rachel Clarke X
Dear Life by Rachel Clarke
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About this book

Book Summary

In Dear Life, palliative care specialist Dr. Rachel Clarke recounts her professional and personal journey to understand not the end of life, but life at its end.

Death was conspicuously absent during Rachel's medical training. Instead, her education focused entirely on learning to save lives, and was left wanting when it came to helping patients and their families face death. She came to specialize in palliative medicine because it is the one specialty in which the quality, not quantity of life truly matters.

In the same year she started to work in a hospice, Rachel was forced to face tragedy in her own life when her father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He'd inspired her to become a doctor, and the stories he had told her as a child proved formative when it came to deciding what sort of medicine she would practice. But for all her professional exposure to dying, she remained a grieving daughter.

Dear Life follows how Rachel came to understand―as a child, as a doctor, as a human being―how best to help patients in the final stages of life, and what that might mean in practice.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Clarke's message is especially timely as we continue to face a global pandemic, and she also includes practical advice on end-of-life preparations and helpful notes about relevant resources. Death comes to all of us; these authentic stories show how it can be met with strength and grace instead of fear." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Moving, funny and compulsively readable, it's part love letter, part lament to a great ideal that [Clarke] believes is being starved of the resources it needs to thrive." - The Sunday Times (UK)

"Though a new medical memoir seems to come along every five minutes just now, this one is special. Clarke, a doctor who works in palliative medicine, [...] has written a book, beautiful and blessedly un-mawkish, about her experiences. Among its pages are true horrors for those involved, but also a numinous beauty. Her words are brimful of love, grace and kindness – and by being so, put the place where this piece began firmly in perspective." - The Observer (UK)

"A memoir about caring for people on the edge of death. Though indisputably a time of sorrow, Clarke tries to show that in the face of death can be found the things that really matter in life, including the strength and compassion of which we are all capable." - BBC (UK)

"Warm and empathetic account affirms that a hospice is all about life, not death." - Financial Times (UK)

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Author Information

Rachel Clarke

Rachel Clarke is a current NHS doctor and former television journalist who cares passionately about standing up for her patients and the NHS. She now works in palliative medicine, believing that helping patients at the end of life experience the best quality life possible is priceless. Rachel lives in Oxford with her husband and two children.

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