By Katie Marsh
Published by Hodder & Stoughton (14 June 2018)
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher
Alex Fox knows there are lots of things she should be.
She should be the perfect wife to her chronically ill husband Sam, and the perfect mother to their two daughters. She should be excelling in her high-stress job. And she should be completing the demanding to-do lists she makes to keep herself on track.
Even if, just sometimes, she doesn't have time to breathe.
When Sam's condition worsens and Alex donates a kidney to save his life, her carefully scheduled existence starts to unravel - eventually forcing her to face up to a past that she has buried for years.
As the family she has fought so hard for threatens to fall apart, can Alex finally confront the mistakes that have shaped her - and rediscover what is most important in life?
I read a lot of books but none have touched me so much recently as The Rest of Me by Katie Marsh. I was Izzy between the ages of 7 and 12, and again in my adult years, and could easily be Alex now. I won't go into details, as this is a review of the book, not of my life. But this book left me in pieces and in tears, late in the evening one night, unable to sleep, taking me back several decades, bringing back memories that I'd stored away.
I love Katie Marsh's writing. I don't read much of this genre, but her books are definite 'must reads' for me. She covers topical emotional issues, writing straight from the heart (and I know that this was a particularly emotional book for Katie Marsh to write). She also covers medical issues with sensitivity and believability. Her writing is so descriptive that it gets right under my skin every time, with characters so real that I wonder if they do truly exist. And she sprinkles all of her books with some gentle humour to lighten the load.
It's so easy to give in to the bullies, as well as the self-bullying and the self-doubt. Katie Marsh reminds us that we can be stronger than this, we can rise above it and that we mustn't let the bullies win. Her books are always heartbreaking yet also uplifting and full of hope. They're honest, raw and powerful. And they always make me laugh, cry and think a lot about the important things in life, long after I've turned the final page.