Dr Sheila Cassidy is a retired medic with great experience in her fields of expertise. Writing is not (in my view) her greatest gift and I did not enjoy this book because of its literary style. Indeed it seemed to me at times to be perhaps a little unpolished. However, this meant that the deeper content was able to shine through more clearly.
So what was it that shone through? I think that what ever your opinion as to the correctness (or otherwise) of her faith and doctrines what you get is an honest insight into the heart and mind of a humble and courageous woman who is at peace with the world and with herself.
Most readers will know that as a young woman she was in Chile and was arrested and tortured by the military regime. Her description of these events is superbly related, striking a good balance between expressing the horror and fear without over-sensationalising it. She neither comes across as thinking herself the hero expecting affirmation for her fortitude, nor as the victim expecting our sympathy.
Her struggles with regard to "calling" are also well set out as she strives to decide whether she should give up her medical work and head to the convent. And this was no passing whim - her struggle covered a period of 20 years and included long periods in religious institutions (where she made many friends). The best answer to her search for who she should try to be was "Why don't you concentrate on being Sheila?" By the end of the book I think that she had achieved just that!
In between there was much fascinating content including her work in one of the pioneer hospices, her work with the dying, and young women and families afflicted with breast cancer ( including dealing with her own diagnosis and subsequent surgery). Additionally she is very open and honest about her struggles with depression and post traumatic stress disorder.
The final chapter relates some of her experience of retirement and is no anticlimax. I found it a joy to read of her contentment and delight in her dogs and her ability to commune with her God in the great outdoors (and over a cup of tea).
The book rarely made me laugh - but I smiled lots! It is a very enjoyable and thought provoking read.
I enjoyed reading this book. There is much information that I have read in her previous books but it still seemed fresh. I love the way she is honest and analyses her behaviour and the way it impacts on both herself and those around her. I think of Sheila Cassidy as a'gutsy'lady and I think this book enbodies this! Well worth reading, I have passed it on for others to read already!