A powerful, timely and incredibly moving memoir in the bestselling tradition of Blake Morrison, Joan Didion and Ruth Picardie.
In the summer of 1990, Cathy’s brother Matty was knocked down by a car on the way home from a night out. It was two weeks before his GCSE results, which turned out to be the best in his school. Sitting by his unconscious body in hospital, holding his hand and watching his heartbeat on the monitors, Cathy and her parents willed him to survive. They did not know then that there are many and various fates worse than death.
This is the story of what happened to Cathy and her brother, and the unimaginable decision that she and her parents had to make eight years after the night that changed everything. It’s a story for anyone who has ever watched someone suffer, or lost someone they loved, or lived through a painful time that left them forever changed. Told with boundless warmth and affection, ‘The Last Act of Love’ is a heartbreaking yet uplifting testament to a family’s survival and the price we pay for love.
“This book should be read by everybody who has either personal or professional experience of severe head injury and, indeed, by anybody who is concerned by the way our society has such difficulty in accepting that meaningful life is about more than just a beating heart.”
“…though the subject is heavy, the style isn’t. It is lucid and warm, and – in detailing Cathy’s path towards a successful, happy, fulfilled, if clouded life – feels strangely nourishing to read. Which you absolutely should. The book itself feels an act of love.”
“Rentzenbrink unearths the profound truths of human experience: how we love, intensely, bravely, even though doing so can destroy us; how we must face what has damaged us and seek a way to live with it; how we can survive unthinkable pain and eventually, slowly, mend – without forgetting – and find contentment.”