Diana's Story by Deric Longden

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Diana's Story by Deric Longden

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Category: Biography
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Beverley Kerry
Reviewed by Beverley Kerry
Summary: Author Deric Longden tells of how he and his wife coped with her illness, which would now be diagnosed as ME. It's an inspirational book and is highly recommended here at Bookbag.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: August 1993
Publisher: Corgi Adult
ISBN: 978-0552139441

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I originally picked up this book thinking it was about Diana, Princess of Wales, but upon reading the back cover, I decided to give it a go anyway.

Set in the early 70's, the book is about a woman who suffers from the disease we know now as M.E., but, in those days, it was a mystery illness leaving Diana virtually bed-bound and reliant upon her husband, Deric, for the majority of her needs.

Narrated by Deric, the book explores the difficulty of getting the medical world to recognise and treat an illness that they seem to imply is all in her mind. We are introduced to Deric and Diana's children, Nick and Sally, with brief appearances by Deric's slightly dotty but lovable and endearing mother, Mrs Longden and her unique phrasing and view of the world.

Ultimately, Diana dies, but the book is not about her death; rather, it's a celebration of her life and the impact she had on those around her.

It sounds like just another sad autobiography, but the truth is, it is so much more than that. This book is funny. Each catastrophe, and each new medical problem, some of which would have ordinary people in despair, is seen by the participants from the funny side and narrated as such. "I guess you had to have been there" moments abound through this book, but thanks to the narrative skills of the author, the reader feels that they were indeed "there" and can picture the moment perfectly.

Incidents such as Diana falling downstairs, whilst the house is empty and breaking her arm, yet lying there painting the woodwork while she waits for assistance has the reader simultaneously in tears and in laughter. Upon arrival at the hospital, a nurse enquires of Diana what happened this time, and to a packed waiting room she announces that he hit her again, because his egg wasn't cooked correctly.

Deric, Diana and the nurse burst into laughter whilst the waiting room looks on, horrified.

Incidents such as these abound throughout the book, mixing laughter with tears in such a way that the book turns into one of those you cannot put down. You can feel the raw emotions coming through the page, sadness, resignation, love, grief, hilarity and acceptance; often all in the same sentence!

Deric captivated me from page one, in a way that no other book has done before or since and is a truly gifted and strong writer. It sounds a strange subject to write about in a humorous vein, the loss of one's wife, but it works, and with no loss of dignity or respect to Diana's memory.

I have read each of Deric's books and they are all firm favourites of mine, but Diana's Story will always be my favourite. It is one of those that, even though you know the ending, you cannot resist picking up again and again.

If this type of book appeals to you then you might also enjoy A Secret Madness by Elaine Bass which tells of how Elaine coped with her husband's mental illness with good humour and fortitude.

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Buy Diana's Story by Deric Longden at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Diana's Story by Deric Longden at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Diana's Story by Deric Longden at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Diana's Story by Deric Longden at Amazon.com.


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