on 21 January 2006
I found this book in a hotel library whilst in Ibiza last summer and decided to give it a go. I spent 3 hours reading this, and I swear my pillow was soaked with tears by the end of it. The story of Hannah, a 3-year-old cancer patient, is so painful yet is a story of hope and overcoming death by accepting its existance. The book is separated into five different sections: truth, joy, faith, compassion and wonder, all told through the eyes of Hannah's mother Maria. This story is one that will keep you crying and smiling up to the last page, especially when you read about the red Mary Janes! Overall, I think everyone should read this and rediscover their love of life and a new outlook on what it means to live life to its fullest.
on 31 October 2002
This book was a compulsive read. The tears ran down my face as i either cried or laughed. I dont think a three year old has ever has such an impact on peoples lives. This book was a heartbreaking read but it showed just how life is seen by a three year old. It showed how cancer affects the entire family but also showed how they coped and how much Hannah was part of their lives. I could not stop reading till it was finished, i had to keep on going to see how Hannah changed the lives of the next people. It must have been a hard book to write but it has been done well and shows the life of a three year old and the memories that will always be there
on 5 March 2003
Maria Housden's daughter Hannah was diagnosed with cancer at the age of three. This book is her tribute to Hannah, a moving narrative of the last year of her short life.
What is most remarkable about this book is the variety of emotions it stirs: it is funny yet heartbreakingly sad, profound, and, above all, inspiring. I laughed out loud at the cheeky little girl who loved her red shoes so much that she wouldn't take them off, even in the operating theatre, insisted that all doctors tell her their first names, and, when told she could choose anything she wanted for her birthday, asked for nothing more than a Little Mermaid Cake. Hannah's irrepressible spirit bounds off each page, and I started to feel that I knew her, or at least wished that I had.
The end of the book, like Hannah's short life, comes to an end all too soon, and I was left with a sense of regret for the stories that should have followed, the adult she would have been. But Maria's story is one of hope, not sorrow, and her book is a celebration of a life fully lived.
By the end of the book I understood what 'Hannah's Gift' was; she taught all who knew her, and many who didn't, about the simple joys of living in the moment, of unconditional love, and pure, unadulterated happiness - gifts that the world is sorely in need of, and all the more remarkable that they are given by a three year old girl.
Maria Housden's brave and moving book is a must-read for anyone who was touched by the stories of Dave Pelzer and Ruth Picardie.
on 3 March 2003
I didnt know what to expect when I bought this book, but I found it to be one of the most beautiful written pieces of work I have read in a long time. It would be wrong to call this simply a book, this is so much more then that, this is the insight into the life of a family struggling with cancer, the strength and courage of the victim, and the victim being the family as much as the sufferer. YOu cant help but to become attached to Hannah as you read the book, and towards the end I just found myself choked to tears. If there is one book you buy this year - this one is an absolute masterpiece.
on 3 July 2006
After a traumatic miscarriage and being told that I would probably never have children I was drawn to this book in a bookstore. Hannah and Maria picked me up at one of my lowest times and taught me how to 'go on' and how to somehow find a positive even at the lowest of times. This book is a lesson of life's difficulties, an inspiration of life and gives everyone a reason to find a positive even in the darkest of times. Positive thoughts, positive energy that Maria and Hannah gave me has allowed me to finally have 2 beautiful boys against what the doctors told me! A beautiful book of life's lessons that has been wonderfully written and a book that cannot be put down until read cover to cover. Be prepared to cry buckets though...
on 30 December 2005
I read this book, thinking I wouldn't enjoy it but I did.
About 2 years ago, I suffered a miscarriage and although reading this book brought the memories flooding back, it also helped me realise that I can be strong and get through it.
This book was a true inspiration to me. Thank you Maria Housden, you've made my life positive again!
on 4 September 2003
I have just read this book in about 3 hours, I just couldn't put it down. I would advise anyone and "everyone" to read it. Even though a very sad story, a wonderful one all the same. It's amazing that a girl as young as Hannah, can make you wake up to reality and start to realise what life is all about, and how precious things really are.
She's a little star, and when I have children if they ever ask for a pair of red shoes, I won't think twice!!! She's a little girl to be looked upon with great admiration, and her mums story is truly heart warming.
on 6 June 2014
I read the paperback of this book and just bought it on kindle, its one of the most beautiful, yet heartbreaking stories i have ever read. The courage and dignity shown by Hannah and her family are astounding. Im not ashamed to say i read this with tears at times running down my face.