Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
Extraordinarily moving and uplifting.
on 18 May 2011
Running Free' is excellently written and a perfectly well -balanced combo of 'Triumph Over Tragedy' and real medical facts. Kate's personal story is told in a no-nonsense writing style which immediately hooks you in from the moment she recalls waking up in hospital with Locked In Syndrome unable to communicate and feeling as if she has been buried alive, following a massive stroke. The reader is taken on Kate's journey to recovery and, as every page is turned, there is an incredible sense of hope and optimism despite the unimaginable daily battles she endures- and later challenges herself to win despite the odds. Kate shows the same stoicism and perseverance as her fictional fighting hero, Stallone's 'Rocky'. You just know Kate is going to make progress and prove the medical experts wrong because of her self belief, gritty determination and network of family, friends and supporters whose loyalty is unwavering. Kate tells it as it is with candid comments and real honesty and there are no saccharine-coated cliches......the story does not need them. You really couldn't make it up. It is quite surreal just reading about how Kate learnt to swallow, eat, talk and walk again and the comedic moments of humour which unexpectedly burst out of the pages here and there reveal the invincibility of the human spirit during the toughest of times. The love and commitment of Kate's three children, husband, relatives, friends and carers envelop her like a circle of strength and nurture her every day. Touch, hugs and positive words or simply having a friend wipe away tears of frustration really do make a difference. When months later Kate has progressed to using a hospital computer to access Facebook and tell others of her plight you realise the business acumen and integral instinct of Kate Allatt's personality to all who knew the digital marketing expert in her pre-stroke days has not been impaired in any way. In some ways Kate's bloody-mindedness is her saving grace as her voice reaches out across the internet and seemingly screams :"I am a stroke survivor, not a victim! '' Ghostwriter Alison Stokes must be applauded for picking up Kate's story via Facebook and throwing her a lifeline. The written words are far more powerful knowing that Kate was rendered speechless by the stroke. No doubt Kate's refound voice (and indeed the aims of her charity Fighting Strokes to provide information and support for patients, carers, health professionals and families) will resonate down the corridors of power- not to mention hospital wards- where other stroke sufferers and those who care for them learn invaluable lessons about strokes and Locked-In Syndrome. This book will be a valuable point of reference. Kate's inspirational story made me cry. Yet since finishing the book, I always aim for a 'my glass is half full, not empty' approach to everyday life.