Brown’s writing can be elegant and powerful, though platitudes too often take the place of her own voice – even in a book that includes so many unique stories about death. And the experiences written about are sometimes made uniform and impersonal by an overtly spiritual tone. Yet in Radical Acts of Love people heal, make amends and discover new sides to themselves – in short, they become more alive – months, or even weeks, before death. The book reframes what it means to heal, which we usually associate with recovery and, therefore, the continuation of life.
This is a glorious book that I would not hesitate to give to anyone facing an unwelcome diagnosis or prognosis of their own or of a loved one. It is kind and practical. I learnt so much and feel glad that it exists and convinced that many people will be helped by Brown’s generous sharing of more than 30 years’ experience of working with the dying. I will be keeping this book on the shelf next to With the End in Mind by Kathryn Mannix in the event that I need them, so that I can remind myself how I want be when I come to the end of my life: “This is the greatest gift we could give our loved ones: to be prepared and open and accepting when the time comes for us to leave this world.”