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ss triple helix - Christmas 2011,  Through my eyes

Through my eyes

Through my eyes - a husband's diary
Steve Hackney
Authentic Media Limited, 2011
£8.99  Pb  100pp
ISBN 185078955X

Through My Eyes is a man's story of his wife's illness and death from cancer, written by a Pentecostal minister in Nottingham. Stephen's wife Lesley was diagnosed with a rare nasopharyngeal tumour in her early thirties and died four years later leaving him with a young daughter. The book is written in the form of a diary with the first two chapters focussing on some of his prayers. These are inevitably somewhat repetitive, but they do illustrate some of the frustration and anguish of unanswered prayer.

Later the diary takes on a narrative form and becomes more reflective. The entries are not daily, so sometimes parts of the story are re-capped at a later date. As time goes on there is a sense of resignation to the natural course of the illness, yet a dilemma is posed every time somebody suggests prayer for healing. Stephen writes honestly about the strain put on their relationship by the illness, and the strain on himself as carer. There is a very good epilogue where he brings together some of the themes of the book, including the roles of suffering and prayer in the Christian life.

I would recommend this book as an honest and insightful look into the realities of living with progressive cancer.

Roxanna Walker is a GP in Nottingham.

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