The Fight of Our Life by Catherine Hawley

The Fight of Our Life: A True Story of Crisis, Hope, and Love by Catherine Hawley


In The Fight of Our Life: A True Story of Crisis, Hope, and Love, Catherine Hawley in heart-wrenching detail shares the story of her husband’s fight against brain cancer, and their ensuing struggle with the Canadian health system. Hawley diligently walks the reader through her husband Bill’s decades-long battle against brain cancer, as well as their final three years together. This storyline largely drives the book, outlining the events in a chronological manner. Hawley spends just as much time characterizing her marriage and her rich emotional life as she does methodically walking the reader through the maze that is Health Canada. Hawley brings the reader along through the processing of dealing with all the hurdles she had to jump and negative opinions and negligence that apparently exist in abundance. Despite all of this, as well as Bill’s unpredictable health, Hawley perseveres throughout the entire story, never giving up on her goal of a realistic yet meaningful life with her husband.

The narrative is written in a strong, clear voice that does not waver from its assertive tone, though the severity lessens to a soft, caring timbre as needed. Her personality shines through her writing and her storytelling, and we are able to see just how much she cares for her husband. Though cancer and brain injury might not quite be a niche topic, Hawley humanizes the struggle and makes it relatable to a wide audience. She succeeds in getting the reader to understand every way in which her life with Bill was forever altered. She constructs the narrative in such a way as to pull the reader into every situation that arises, all the while weaving in her critical arguments. Her writing style is descriptive, yet direct, and is still able to be immensely expressive. Alongside the story of her and her husband’s deep, loving bond, she’s able to provide some insight into what her experience was like, and how her thoughts were often conflicted and almost too much to handle. The story, as well as the social and medical implications brought up by Hawley, stay with the reader long after the book has been put down. Paired with a thorough policy analysis, this book has the possibility of making a strong critical argument in the national dialogue concerning the effectiveness of Health Canada.

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