Book review: Death and the Elephant

Nurse consultant Natalie Doyle reviews a life-affirming memoir
Death and the Elephant

Death and the Elephant: How Cancer Saved My Life Raz Shaw Unbound £20.00 | 304pp ISBN: 9781783524778

The author of this book adopts an unusual perspective on the experience of cancer – he credits the disease with saving his life. Ensnared in a gambling addiction and languishing in a souless job, Mr Shaw recalls feeling dispirited and wasted, until a cancer diagnosis becomes the catalyst that leads to the reappraisal of life and the advent of a glittering career in theatre .

Much of the rest of the book follows a familiar pattern, with the author reflecting on disease presentation and the shock of diagnosis. Much wordage is spent on relating the graphic details of anti-cancer treatment, with chapters on chemotherapy and its side effects, such as alopecia and oral mucositis, and the author’s gratitude to the healthcare professionals is apparent throughout. A discussion of


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