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An Extra Pair of Hands Reviews

An Extra Pair of Hands by Kate Mosse

An Extra Pair of Hands: A story of caring, ageing and everyday acts of love

Kate Mosse

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Wellcome Collection
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
Publication date: 3 Jun 2021
ISBN: 9781788162616

A deeply moving story of what it means to care for those we love by bestselling author Kate Mosse.

  • The GuardianBook of the Day
4 stars out of 5
22 May 2021

"this moving and unusual memoir also speaks of the pleasure and privilege that leaven the heavy burden of caring"

Mosse finds it hard to shoehorn her thoughts into the impoverished bureaucratic language used in the “care industry” and complains at being designated a “carer”, with its implication of inequality and the passivity of the dependent. Here, she indignantly insists that her surviving mother-in-law may now be dependent, but is also still very much her strong-willed, vibrant self. Mosse refers to herself deprecatingly as an “extra pair of hands” even if she is now “full-time”. The book’s title speaks to the importance of tact in protecting dignity and respect, and Mosse describes admiringly how her mother cared for her father when he had Parkinson’s. “She never spoke for him, never took over unless he wanted her help, never let the things he could no longer do become more important than the things he could do.” She questions how and why we fetishise independence when the reality of human experience is always interdependence. Here is a book that sees, in this, a cause for celebration.


4 stars out of 5
Kate Saunders
21 May 2021

"This is a touching memoir about caring for ageing parents"

This is a wise and kindly book, all the wiser for its honesty. Mosse warns us that it is a personal story and not a “how-to” book for carers, although those new to the role will find plenty of practical advice, including a list of helplines and charities. An Extra Pair of Hands is mainly a heartfelt reminder of why people become carers. “Most of all,” she writes, “it’s a story about love.” When Mosse took on the care of her parents, she saw it as a privilege rather than a duty, a chance to repay the unconditional love they gave to her: “Holding tight to the hand that once held mine.”