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Before I Say Goodbye: Recollections and Observations from One Woman's Final Year
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Before I Say Goodbye: Recollections and Observations from One Woman's Final Year

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4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  316 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
By turns humorous and heart-rending, an unforgettable account of a young woman's spiritual triumphs over breast cancer in the last year of her life

Ruth Picardie was only thirty-three when she died, a month after her twins' second birthday and just under a year after she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. For Ruth, a journalist, it seemed natural to write about her ill
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Paperback, 128 pages
Published September 14th 2000 by Holt Paperbacks (first published 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 617)
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Anna
Jan 11, 2009 Anna rated it it was amazing
I have honestly never cried so much, I had tears pouring down my face for most of this book. It's made me appreciate how short life is & to make the most of what I have. I can't imagine dying & leaving my babies. The final few pages written by her husband after her death really bring the reality of how undignified it is to die from cancer.

E-mails, articles & letters written by & to, Ruth Picardie, a journalist for the Observer, who finds she has terminal breast cancer at aged 32,
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Missy
Oct 04, 2010 Missy rated it really liked it
Shelves: breast-cancer, memoir
Ruth's story is not one of bemoaning her predicament. It is the story of her life before and after her horrendous diagnosis; life with her husband and her children, the love of her job, the silliness that is shared between her and her friends, and her crass view of cancer...its intrusion into her life.

Her lump, when first detected by Ruth herself, was determined by her doctors as being a "fibroadenoma", a non-cancerous lump of the breast. Pacified by the diagnosis, Ruth and her husband Matt wipe
...more
Kim
Nov 23, 2010 Kim rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs, 2010
A very moving account of one woman dealing with her cancer diagnosis and terrible prognosis. The book take the form of e-mails Ruth Picardie sent her best freinds in the year between her diagnosis and death, and the five articles she wrote for a British newspaper.

In the little pockets of her life visible through her correspondance with loved ones the magnitude of the loss her friends and family will face upon her death is heart breakingly obvious. It is not the grand gestures one misses when som
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Karen
"Almost unbearable intensity" says the cover. That's about right. I never quite got over my awkwardness with reading other people's private correspondence but she laid herself so bare in her column that the voyeuristic aspect was eventually diluted.



What shines through so much in this book about, essentially, dying, is life and her determination to hang on to it. I wept openly at her letters to her children. The postscript by her husband was amazing too - what courage to be able to admit the real
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China Flanigan
Mar 05, 2012 China Flanigan rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book and as an American living in London, at the time of reading, it was a real life argument against Nationalized healthcare. What it is really about, is a young woman coming to grips with her imminent death. This book had a huge impact on me, even now, 13 years after I read it.
Judi
May 05, 2013 Judi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2000
This book made me change my mind about my wish at death for it to happen in my sleep. This book made me rethink this. I now think that part of living is dying and to be aware would enhance living and dying.

Anyway, this is not a morbid book.
Caroline
Aug 07, 2014 Caroline rated it it was amazing
Absolutely wonderful! So moving. I had just lost my husband to cancer, and could not "right" myself or adjust to my new position in society Ms. Picardie gave me hope, even though she was no longer among us.
Sabah
Oct 23, 2009 Sabah rated it liked it
Fascinating & moving idea - a journalist dying of cancer writes letters to her children to be opened over the years, coinciding with important moments she would have shared with them had she lived.
Sharon
Jun 29, 2012 Sharon rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Not exactly uplifting, but the author writes truthfully about her impending death. We are watching "The Big C," right now, so I thought this would be a good time to pick up this book.
Sarah
May 06, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it
Sad yet funny, this book is in part a collection of columns wriiten by the author. It's also a completion of a life, which is the most tragic thing about the story.
Jenn
May 30, 2008 Jenn rated it really liked it
I had to read this book for class, but I loved it! It's emails and letters that the author sent to friends the year before she died of cancer.
Ikebukuro
Sep 03, 2012 Ikebukuro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un témoignage d'une émotion incroyable. C'est un livre m'a marqué pendant des mois et auquel je repense souvent.
Tracey Sinclair
Sep 15, 2014 Tracey Sinclair rated it it was amazing
I wept like a baby (in public!) when I read this. Heartbreaking.
Gail
Feb 04, 2011 Gail rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ruth Picardie was a journalist who was diagnosed with breast cancer in her early thirties, and then all kinds of secondary cancers, in her bones, her lungs, her liver, her brain, and learnt she was going to die. She wrote a column about it in The Observer - although she didn't have time to write many articles, due to the quick progression of the illness - so this book combines her articles with some of her email correspondence with various of her friends, and some of the letters readers wrote in ...more
Karschtl
Die Journalistin Ruth Picardie fällt aus alle Wolken als bei ihr Brustkrebs diagnostiziert wird. Ihre Krankheit schreitet rapide schnell voran. Schon bald hat sie nicht mehr die Kraft, ihr normales Leben fortzuführen und ihre vielen Freunde zu treffen. Stattdessen behilft sie sich mit E-Mails, um mit der Außenwelt noch einigermaßen in Kontakt zu bleiben.
Einige von diesen E-Mails sind in diesem Buch abgedruckt und veranschaulichen die letzten Monate von Ruth. Leider erlebt Ruth den ersten Jahres
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Lisa Reiter
Aug 01, 2014 Lisa Reiter rated it really liked it
This is a really good book but a very difficult read if you do have metastasised cancer. So I recommend it to those who don't but not if you do. There's no hope in it, but an incredibly honest exploration of a terrible personal nightmare.
Rach
Jun 26, 2014 Rach rated it it was amazing
wow! found this to be truly insightful and truthful, something i have carried with during my practice as a healthcare worker! moving, honest, upsetting! great , profound read
Tima
Aug 17, 2012 Tima rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: women, people who have lost someone to cancer
This book was heart-breaking. Not in the outright sad way that you would expect. The pain sneaked up on you like a sunburn. One minute your laughing - truly feeling the warmth Ruth Picardie has for her family and life, the next minute you feel the sting of a tear burning in your eyes.


It's unlike any memoir I've read. In that, it is not written to you, the reader. It is a series of notes, letters, email and various correspondence between Ruth Picardie and her family/friends during her fatal batt
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Rachel
Oct 02, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it
As I am on a biog tip at the moment this was one I'd meant to read for ages. Everything you expect reallly... sad, funny, tragic, optimistic all rolled into one.

Her correspondence and 'inner most' thoughts are both funny, breathtaking and uncomprehensibly sad. The post script is one of the best bits, as her husband talks candidly about what it's like to lose somebody in the 'prime' of their life - how terminal illnesses takes over and robs you of the person you love, etc.

Highly recommended, if y
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Maria
May 04, 2015 Maria rated it really liked it
Heartbreaking, and so well written.
Elizabeth Simons
Nov 02, 2009 Elizabeth Simons rated it it was amazing
Sometimes the most meaningful books are not well organized or edited. This is raw, straight from the heart. It will stay with me a long time. Ruth Picardie was as honest as it is possible to be about her coming death. Reading between the lines, though you could see an absence of her feelings for her husband. Then in his afterword, he says that the cancer came between them and he could not reach her. The timing of her illness coming so soon after the birth of twins must have been partly the cause ...more
Arunita Sen
Dec 08, 2013 Arunita Sen rated it it was amazing
I was in tears when I was on the last page of this book. A brilliant read. After words from her husband, Matt are so well written too. This would make you realise what they face in a hard-core-bitter way! Must read!
Brooke
Aug 11, 2013 Brooke rated it really liked it
Funny and sad at the same time. The story of a women diagnosed with ALS and her journeys with her family after she finds out about her illness. Makes you appreciate the moments you have.
Karen
Feb 10, 2009 Karen rated it it was amazing
I read this a litttle while ago through tears. It was so sad, but the spirit of Ruth shone through. Wish I could say more.
Kay
Apr 14, 2008 Kay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The newspaper columns and emails of a journalist dying with cancer. Beautiful, sad and funny at the same time.
Pussinbooks
Wonderfully touching account of the authors fight with cancer.
Also very funny in parts too
Jennifer
Jun 14, 2011 Jennifer rated it liked it
I found this to be a very difficult, sad read. I think I would have liked Ruth Picardie.
Soozee
Aug 19, 2009 Soozee rated it it was amazing
A reverent read...full of sadness and beauty.
Elisse Breugelmans
Jul 13, 2013 Elisse Breugelmans rated it it was amazing
Made me laugh and cry. Very moving.
Alison Gray
A little difficult to read
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