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Thursday, April 26, 2012

When All That's Left of Me is Love by Linda Campanella


What this book is about:
In her poignant memoir, Linda Campanella offers readers an intimate look inside her family and her heart as she relives and reconstructs her last year with her terminally ill mother and, in the process, comes to terms with the pain and permanence of her loss. At the heart of this story is the important realization that a terminal diagnosis does not terminate life.

Have you ever read a book that just seemed to be the "right book at the right time" sort of read? Well, this was one for me. I haven't experienced the excruciating pain of watching a parent suffer from a terminal illness or live with the knowledge that at some point in time my parent was going to die. But my mother had to go through all of that with her own mother and father. I have friends who just recently lost a parent to a terminal illness, one just diagnosed with cancer, and I have friends who are still learning how to live with their grief from the sudden death of a loved one. So, the reason this book came into my life at the "perfect" time is because I was supposed to read this one and then buy a copy for my mom. I was supposed to read this book and share a poignant poem about loss with a co-worker who lost her husband two years ago this month. I was supposed to read this book and pass it on to a friend whose father passed a few months ago. This is how Linda's story touched me. I connected with her immediately and her love for her parents just jumped off the pages. I liked how she told her story with the help of emails that she saved. Some of the emails were from her to her mother, father, siblings, and various other people. Other emails were from her mother, siblings, and people she met during her mother's year-long battle. Many will think that this story is too sad to read, but I tell you that it is NOT! Linda's mother loved life. This book is a testament to her big heart, her ability to smile and laugh her way through the pain, and to leave a legacy of love so big that you can only admire her determination to live each day of her life. This book may make you cry, but it's all good....really it is.

Recommend? Absolutely. If you have lost a loved one from a terminal illness, accident, natural causes, or whatever the circumstances, you may find some comfort and solace with this book. I'm sure her experience will resonate with you. Linda's mother loved poetry and there are many pieces shared in this book. I've made copies of the ones that touched me and have made a point to purchase Good Poems by Garrison Keillor because it calls to me. This is the type of book that you will read in a day, highlight those aha moments, write down the poems in a journal, make notes all over the pages, and more than likely buy another copy for a family member, friend, or someone you know who may need some help dealing with their pain from the death of a loved one.


Linda Campanella is a management consultant and the mother of three sons. Before she launched a private consulting practice serving nonprofit organizations, her professional career included stints as an international trade negotiator in the executive branch of the U.S. government, a corporate executive in the aerospace industry, and a senior administrator at a private college. She is a graduate of the first co-ed class of Amherst College and earned a master’s from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. Raised in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, she currently resides in West Hartford, Connecticut, with her husband and high school sweetheart, Joe, and the mini-goldendoodle who joined the family nine months after the author became a motherless daughter. This book, her first, was written as a tribute to her mother and a gift to her father.


Source: TLC Book Tours and Linda Campanella
Genre: Memoir
Pages: 232
Published:  August, 2011

Disclaimer:Thank you to Linda Campanella for sending me a review copy. I was not compensated for my review. My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.They are my personal reflections based solely on MY experience while reading this novel.


Review Book #14
© 2011, Staci of Life in the Thumb. All Rights Reserved. If you reading this on a site other than, Life in the Thumb or Staci's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.
 

21 comments:

  1. Staci, this sounds fantastic. My parents are nearing the age where there future is a little shorter than it once was and after losing a grandfather last year, I can see how this book could be comforting. I'm so impressed that it inspired you to buy a poetry book! You'll have to let us know how you like it.

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  2. It sounds like a wonderful memoir. Who couldn't relate to it? Nice review, Staci.

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  3. This sounds like a very moving book. My father passed away almost a year and a half ago and I still get the urge to pick up the phone to call him from time to time.

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  4. This sounds beautiful! But being a crier... will it make me cry all the way through it??

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  5. I read this one recently and I thought it was wonderful too. It was nice to read about so much hope and love in a book dealing with cancer.

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  6. I have also experienced friends who have lost a parent to terminal illness. This book, although heartbreaking, sounds positive and comforting. Thanks for highlighting it!

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  7. I'm convinced too that sometimes a book comes to you that needs to come to you!

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  8. But it would make me so sad :/

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  9. I haven't read a memoir about end of life since my Mom died last year. I wonder if I could handle it...

    This one sounds powerful.

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  10. Staci - Thanks for your reading and sharing your reactions to my book. I particularly appreciated how you got to know my mother and chose to describe her legacy; yes, she loved life - and laughter. Hers is indeed a legacy of living and loving.

    For those of you who think the book will make you sad, I encourage you to believe Staci when she says the book is not sad; while parts of it do draw readers into the sadness I was experiencing as I anticipated losing my mother/best friend and then went through that loss, ultimately (despite any tears it prompts) the book is uplifting and life-affirming. It is about living, not about dying. And I agree with Staci that crying a little can be a really good -- i.e., helpful, healing -- thing. It's good to connect with our deep feelings and also good to feel connected with other human beings through shared experiences and emotions. Readers will see that my grief was balanced with enormous gratitude -- for many unexpected gifts along the difficult journey.

    The book is a celebration of life and of the wonderful bond between mothers and daughters (especially when we are lucky to adore our moms and be adored in return). It is meant to inspire hope in those who one day may travel the path my family took and comfort for those who've been there already.

    It's a book about bonds that never break and love that never dies.

    If you do read it, please share your reactions with me via the book's web site (www.lindacampanella.tateauthor.com). I really love connecting with people through this book and hearing their own stories.

    Linda Campanella

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  11. The cover is just beautiful - it's the kind of book that would call out to me from the shelf. And it sounds like I would be very happy that it did. Having lost my father-in-law to cancer, I think this is something I could definitely related to.

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  12. It sounds like a beautiful memoir. I cared for my mom with terminal cancer (25) years ago and then saw my brother through it (2.5 years) ago as well.

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  13. sounds good--but I think my heart might still be a bit tender. I'll mark it for later.

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  14. It is such an amazing thing when a book comes to a reader at exactly the right time - I'm thrilled that this was the case here and that you were able to share this book with people who really needed it.

    Thanks for being on the tour!

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  15. I would love to read this, as I've gone through this! Great review and recommendation of the book.

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  16. It's great when a book touches you so deeply Staci. I wish I had had time to read this one for the tour. It sounds like a book that would have been a good one for me to read as well.

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  17. This one sounds sad. I'll admit that I have a tendency to shy away from books like these but since you are recommending this I just may have to give it a try :)

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  18. My mother is going through this right now and thanls to you I'll have something to offer her in a few weeks when I see her next.

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  19. I think I'm meant to read this one ... thank you Staci

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  20. As the seventh anniversary of my personal loss draws near, I think this is one that I'm meant to read. Lovely review, Staci. Thank you.

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  21. I love when a book finds us at just the right time and this one definitely sounds like it found you at the right time. Glad it meant so much to you and the others you passed it to.

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