What are the things we live for? What matters most in life when your time is short? This brave, frank and heartbreaking book shows what it means to die before your time; how to take charge of your life and fill it with wonder, hope and joy even in the face of tragedy.
Ambitious and talented, Kate Gross worked at Number 10 Downing Street for two British Prime Ministers whilst only in her twenties. At thirty, she was CEO of a charity working with fragile democracies in Africa. She had married 'the best looking man I've ever kissed' - and given birth to twin boys in 2008. The future was bright.
But aged 34, Kate was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer. After a two-year battle with the disease, Kate died peacefully at home on Christmas morning, just ten minutes before her sons awoke to open their stockings.
She began to write as a gift to herself, a reminder that she could create even as her body began to self-destruct.
Written for those she loves,her book is not a conventional cancer memoir; nor is it filled with medical jargon or misery. Instead, it is Kate's powerful attempt to make sense of the woman who emerged in the strange, lucid final chunk of her life. Her book aspires to give hope and purpose to the lives of her readers even as her own life drew to its close.
Kate should have been granted decades to say all that she says in these pages. Denied the chance to bore her children and grandchildren with stories when she became fat and old, she offers us all her thoughts on how to live; on the wonder to be found in the everyday; the importance of friendship and love; what it means to die before your time and how to fill your life with hope and joy even in the face of tragedy.
©2015 Kate Gross (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
"The book's power lies in the unflinching way she shares her life's lessons and how she rationalises what it's really like to be told 'you are going to die'… Her thoughts on friendship, family, love and loss preoccupied me for days … Hers is a voice that is clear and spirited from a woman who was funny, clever and wise" (Sunday Times)
"Late Fragments is neither a cancer chronicle nor a misery memoir. It is a book that shows you how to live life to the brim… boy, does [Kate's] writing have pulse. Clear-sighted and cold-eyed, her sentences are light as leaves and she was as wise as a magi… When [her twins] wonder about their mother, here she will be, bold and brave, caught on the page in all her wonderful vitality" (Mail on Sunday, 5*)
"A brave voice sings out of these pages … a fine epitaph for a life well lived, and one that ended too soon" (The Times)
"A gem - a wonderful, uplifting reflection on how to die and how to live… There is nothing tragic about its message which is a happy one, full of life's possibilities not its limitations. The lesson is that it is not the longevity of your life but the intensity of it which counts; that what you give lasts longer than what you take; and that if you contribute, even to the smallest degree to the betterment of humankind then you will not be a memory but a living and moving spirit that even after death can change the world around you. Such a spirit is Kate" (Tony Blair)
"Kate Gross writes with steadfast, exquisite skill and although this remarkable book is hard to get through without a box of hankies, it is also one of the most galvanising you are likely to read all year. She wanted to pass on the gift of wonder to her sons; her gift to her reader is to inspire them to live life with as much joy, hunger and gusto as she did" (Metro)
"Read it and leap. Late Fragments is so beautiful (Hadley Freeman)
"Late Fragments is more than a cancer memoir - it is also a superb manual for living. Highly recommended" (Matthew d'Ancona)
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I actually find difficult to review this book and Kate's writing in any way that would even begin to do it justice. There aren't. enough stars, for me, to begin to rate it. I found it excruciatingly painful but so beautifully written by such an incredibly gifted person . I was bereft when I finished the book and yet relieved that I didn't have to feel that depth of pain for any longer.That said ..it is without doubt one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. I loved Kate from the first chapter. I wished I'd met her, just for an hour even , to instil some of her amazing courage in me. She made me grateful to be alive..to cherish every day. I wanted to be her friend , her mother, meet her husband , care for her beautiful boys..give her more time....what a loss to this world. So gifted, so beloved. Her family were left the most beautifulnlegacy..shine on Kate...
Moving, funny and thought provoking. I will recommend this and happily return to read again.
"What a brilliant book - rich in joy and sorrow"
It sort of leaves you speechless, but only because Kate Gross has already used up all the words so beautifully and precisely. And Helen Duff does an absolutely wonderful job of making Kate Gross so fully and poignantly present. The book is so much more than a chronicle of cancer; it's a book about life.
"Powerful, poignant, a book worth revisiting"
Only heard the audio version!
Too thought provoking on to listen to in one sitting. I intend listen to it many more times.
I'm so grateful Kate Gross took the time to write down her dying thoughts, but, as a mother, I'm sorry she didn't spend more time with her boys!
"Not sure it's for me"
I was recommended this book its beautifully written but I did not like it.
Felt like manual for handling death
The most enjoyable part of the book was how positive she was. Evan though she had a lot of obstacles thrown at her. It puts things in perspective.
The lady who read the book was great at reading it.
All of them
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