Rebecca Brown's THE GIFTS OF THE BODY really cast a spell on me, with its sober delicate style, and its no-nonsense but very humble approach. It is incredibly hard to write about the emotions involved in taking care of people who are sick, but Brown does this by allowing her narrator to remain almost anonymous, and the only way she is revealed is through what she does for people, the simple yet startlingly intimate services she performs for people--from giving baths to cleaning kitchens to just being there to have a meal with them. These acts of kindness, although performed by someone who is paid to be there, become glimpses of hope, just glimpses though, which makes them even more poignant that extravagant "heroic" narratives about "Saving Lives." The narrator is not saving lives, as much as helping people to stay comfortable as the ravages of disease take them past comfort into a terrible region of pain. The sentiments in this book are toned down almost to a purity of spirit: there is deep feeling, but not of the variety most people are used to. The depth comes from the frankness and business-like accuracy of the narrator, the way people come and go, the why finally she just has to quit for a while just to stay sane. This book is amazing, and should be read by everyone, but especially by people who work with people who are disabled, sick, who need care.