The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink

Last year, I read some amazing books, but I must say that I haven’t been blown away by anything I’ve read so far this year. Where have I been going wrong? I think I decided to think outside the box. I love psychological thrillers, but rather than just buy all thrillers, I decided to buy a selection of books in different genres. But nothing has really excited me all that much.

So would The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink change all that?

Certainly the reviews, including from authors I really respect, on the cover and inside the book suggested it would. But it wasn’t my usual sort of book. The Last Act of Love is an autobiography of sorts, otherwise known as a ‘tragic life story’. I used to read a lot of these about 10 years ago. After the success of Dave Pelzer’s A Child Called ‘It’, lots of people who had been abused or suffered in some way started writing their stories. The stories were shocking, sometimes interesting, but often badly written. And I soon got tired of reading them.

Nobody was abused in The Last Act of Love. It is the story of Cathy and her brother, Matty, just a year younger and her very best friend. In 1990, at the age of 16, Matty was knocked over by a car and never walked or spoke again. The story is about Cathy’s love for Matty, the fight to keep him alive and, eventually, the fight to let him die in peace.

But it is also a story about Cathy’s own grief and mental health, as she struggles to deal with what has happened to Matty. She carries the grief with her for the whole eight years he is alive following the accident, but it doesn’t go away after he dies. It is only very recently that she has started to come to terms with what happened and to make sense of her own reaction to it.

This isn’t what you’d call a cheerful read, but it is full of love and hope. I’m not sure I’m going to be getting back into the tragic life stories regularly any time soon, but The Last Act of Love was definitely a good read for a change.

The Last Act of Love, Cathy Rentzenbrink, Book review

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Author: Sarah Mummy

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17 Comments

  1. I have this on my to be read pile but in all honesty, I keep putting off reading because it sounds so sad! But maybe I should give it a try anyway?

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    • Give it a try! It is incredibly moving, but also very interesting and worth a read.

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  2. I’m sure this is really good and I must admit I am tempted to add to my pile now but I’m not very good with sad or tragic stories. I much prefer to go into another world. I may give this one a go though for a change.

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    • That makes sense! Reading should be a form of escape. Personally, I like reading quite dark fiction, so real life tragedy also interests me, even though it is moving and can be horrible! 🙁

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  3. Ooh definitely sounds like a bit of a tear jerker, not sure I’m ready for that as I’ve only just finished Me Before You!
    Nat.x

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    • I’m glad you’ve finally read Me Before You! That really is a tear-jerker! This is definitely very emotional too, in a different way. x

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  4. This is a book on my TBR list, must read it! Thanks for sharing with #ReadWithMe

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    • It’s worth a read for something different, but I think I’m in no hurry to read more of these tragic life stories!

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  5. This sounds like a really good read. I hope you manage to find some more books that you enjoy this year #readwithme

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    • Thanks very much! It was interesting, but I think I’m happier reading fiction! Luckily I’ve found a few good books since I read this one 🙂

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    • That doesn’t sound good. Definitely worth giving this one a miss in that case!

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  6. Ooh, I couldn’t read this. Too much heartache. Thanks for reviewing
    #readwithme

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    • It’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea and I don’t think I’ll be reading anything like this again in a hurry!

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  7. I do tend to read the same sort of books too, but like you I go through phases of trying to spice it up with a bit of something different.

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    • A bit of variety is good, but I don’t think I’m in any hurry to read anything again like this for a while.

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  8. I used to read these kinds of books but like you I stopped. I found myself feeling very depressed for a few days each time I’d finished one. I’m not sure I could bring myself to read one again.

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