BRIGIE: A Life 1965-1981 by Janet Taylor

BRIGIE: A Life 1965-1981

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Brigie Moorhouse was an English schoolgirl of 16, when--""in the full flush of her teenage obsessions""--she was stricken with a virulent form of cancer that killed her in a matter of months. This, her mother's quiet account of those final months, focuses on Brigie's gradual and peaceful acceptance of death: all the more remarkable, says her mother, since she had exhibited ""no previously obvious spiritual resources."" Brigie's initial symptom was a lump on one wrist, which was incorrectly diagnosed as a ganglion. When ensuing symptoms of fatigue, cough, and general malaise were investigated, an untreatable cancer was found to have spread throughout Brigie's body. (Palliative surgery and medication for pain relief were the only medical measures taken throughout this short illness.) There is not much here that will be familiar to American readers as Taylor recounts the family's ordeal--so different, for one thing, are English hospital routines (strict visiting hours by US standards, no family presence during the rigors of diagnostic testing). And Taylor's natural reserve may leave readers feeling they don't know Brigie or her family very well. Large numbers of barely-introduced friends and relatives appear briefly and confusingly. Taylor's own sustaining religious convictions are clearly in evidence, and Brigie's inner strength is equally apparent. But the source of that strength is never quite clear, nor how she came to accept her fate.

Pub Date: Jan. 9th, 1984
Publisher: St. Martin's