Before I Say Goodbye
Recollections and Observations from One Woman's Final Year
By Ruth Picardie
(Holt Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780805066128, 128pp.)
Publication Date: January 2003
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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 illness. She published only five columns for Observer Life magazine before she became too sick to continue, but her moving, funny, and very human account drew a huge response from readers all over England.
Before I Say Goodbye juxtaposes these columns with correspondence from readers, e-mails to her friends, letters to her children, and reflections by her husband and her sister. The result is a courageous and moving book, entirely devoid of self-pity, that celebrates the triumph of a brave and wonderful woman's spirit. An international bestseller in England, Picardie's sobering yet ultimately life-affirming book is destined to become a classic.
Ruth Picardie was raised and educated in London, Oxford, and Cardiff, England. She studied social anthropology at Cambridge University. After graduation, she worked as an editor and freelance writer for numerous magazines and newspapers. A happily married mother of twins, she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age thirty-two. She died in September of 1997.
"Brave, funny, honest and beautifully structured."--The London Sunday Times
"This young woman with her brittle flippancy and Bridget Jones concerns is a columnist always on duty, painfully fleshing out a persona as her real weight dwindles."--Hilary Mantel, The Sunday Telegraph
"[Picardie's] account had me chuckling and sobbing almost simultaneously. . . . [It] has left me with a new perspective. Now I figure, 'So what if the washing waits until tomorrow?'"--The Irish Times
"Powerful, hard-hitting and poignant. . . This is not a book to enjoy, but it is a book which cannot fail to move you."--Oban Times
"This book made me feel happy to be alive."--Newbury Weekly News