We all experience bereavement in our lives but, these days, relatively few suffer the loss of a child. This book is an honest and unglossed mother's memoir of a few brief months between the diagnosis of cancer and the death of the author's daughter, followed by two years of trying to come to terms with such a terrible event. The depth of despair and alienation from a world that cannot truly appreciate her loss is very tangible, as is the note of hope towards the end as the author comes to appreciate her life and the benefits of family, friends, community and the pleasure of writing. Memories of Georgina and her music will always be a source of comfort rather than a grim reminder of tragedy. I felt deeply moved while I was reading and I have thought about it repeatedly since finishing it. There is not a hint of emotional manipulation anywhere in the book, although the writing style is excellent.
Have to begin by saying after the last book I read, this is more like it! - which sounds a terrible thing to say and also so wrong considering it's a real-life story of a family grieving for the loss of their fifteen year old daughter to cancer. I was lucky enough to meet the author along with her lovely friend Karen, albeit briefly in Leeds last month at a book club meet-up. Funny how sometimes you know within minutes of meeting someone, what sort of person they are. It was plain to see. She was warm, friendly, caring, unassuming and down to earth. And you know what? So is this book. The love within this family shines through from the onset. Not in a gushing over-sentimental hand-wringing 'woe is me' king of way though. Yes, tears plopped onto several pages, and a lot of throat-clearing was going on, but boy do you sense that should you ever tragically find yourself in a similar situation, Helen Victoria Anderson is someone you would want as a friend. As the pages turn, I'm feeling, - well I don't know what I'm feeling. The same year Georgina was diagnosed, my Mum was also diagnosed in September with pancreatic cancer. She died on Christmas Day 2013, and my goodness, I know exactly how myself and my three sister felt/feel. Mum was 84. 84 is a whole lot bigger number than 15. Poor girl. Poor beautiful girl. Poor family. Cancer you are a b****** - why don't you just do one! This is such a heart breaking gut wrenching story yet it is so beautifully told, it offers hope and a belief that loved ones can and will live on in hearts and minds and therefore always be close by, despite the many tears, their smiles will surely win through. I was never lucky enough to meet or know you Georgina Louise Anderson, but I'll bloomin' well remember you!!
I’m sure many of us have wondered when we see on the news, or watch programmes like Children In Need, how parents cope with losing a child. It would be my absolute worst nightmare and many a time I have woken up from some horrible dream where something bad has happened to my children and my face is soaked with tears. Luckily for me that’s all it is, a bad dream. Sadly for some other parents it’s a reality.
Piece by Piece is a book made up of diary entries, by Helen, as well as status’s posted on social media, again by Helen and her husband, from when Georgina was diagnosed, but mainly on the aftermath after her death.
This novel felt very personal and I can only thank Helen from the bottom of my heart in sharing her thoughts and feelings with others. I think this book will be such a big help to any parents whose child is terminally ill or have lost a child. It will also help others that have not been affected in this way to understand what someone is going through and hopefully be more mindful as well as be better prepared if the worst was ever to happen to them or someone they know.
Grief is something that obviously affects each of us differently. We get to see this in how Helen and her husband react differently and how they both go about coping with it. The support from a certain football club as well as Georgina’s school and her friends was especially touching and I had to have the odd breather as I couldn’t see the words through my tears.
Piece by Piece was obviously going to be a heart wrenching and emotional read. The devastation of losing a child was everything I thought it would be and more. It will certainly make you appreciate your children even more than you already do and hug them that little bit tighter.
I read this memoir in just a couple of days. I found it a compelling and heart breaking account of a mother trying to bring some sense of order to her life following the death of her 15 year old daughter. The book had me in tears at times and laughing out loud in turn at some of the dark humour. Ultimately it is a raw, honest and at times brutal account of a mother struggling to come to terms with every parent's worst nightmare, the loss of a beloved child.
Reading this wonderful book by Helen took me into her mind and innermost thoughts on what was and did happen to her beautiful daughter. A very emotional read and not only about the tragedy of their daughter losing her life but the effect it had on the extended family,friends and the community .There are no holes barred here ,she is wide open with her thoughts and this book is a MUST read.
So beautifully written. A poignant book torn from the heart of a mother's bereavement, and showing her raw pain at having lost her most beautiful, talented young daughter, Georgina, to cancer. The book evokes many emotions as such a journey would, but it is uplifting too, and an inspirational story which I would highly recommend. I would also recommend listening on line to the stunning, song, written and performed by Georgina: Two Thirds of A Piece which is mentioned in the book. RIP Georgina.
What courage Helen Anderson has shown in putting her thoughts down about her grief on paper. Starting with Georgina and her illness, a very brave family who have struggled through the awful stages of grief and continue to show that Georgina's short life was so meaningful and memorable. Thank you Helen; you have helped me to understand my stages of grief in losing my husband last year. Losing a child however, must be the worst thing to happen to any parent but your strength and love for your family shine through in your story.
It must have taken great bravery to write this book. And it's beautiful. A tribute not only to Helen's daughter, but a tribute to how we cope when life hands us great difficulties. I've always believed in the power of writing as a way of healing/coping, and this gorgeous memoir only adds to my belief. I'm still thinking about it a week after finishing it.
Helen Anderson truly bares her soul in this poignant book and the result is an honest and extremely readable account of an unimaginable time. It was not mawkish or sentimental and I felt great empathy for Helen, her husband and her son. I admit to a few tears whilst reading this book and after I'd finished reading I downloaded Georgina's song & looked at the video on YouTube. Lovely! What a very special girl she was.
This book was hard to read at times, the authors pain was so raw it felt like the pages themselves were bleeding. I read it in two sittings, desperate to get to the end and hopefully find that the pain had eased and life was 'normal' again. I won't spoil the ending, just to say that as hard as it was to read, it was worth it. Helen and her husband Paul need not worry that their beloved Georgina will ever be forgotten. This family have left an indelible impression and anyone reading this blisteringly honest story is unlikely to ever forget them.