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Publisher's Summary

In the summer of 1990, Cathy's brother, Matty, was knocked down by a car on the way home from a night out, two weeks before receiving his GCSE results. Sitting by his unconscious body in hospital, holding his hand and watching his heartbeat on the monitors, Cathy and her parents willed him to survive.

They did not know then that there are many fates worse than death.

©2014 Cathy Rentzenbrink (P)2015 W F Howes Ltd

Critic Reviews

"I never knew a story of grief could have so much joy in it." (Nina Stibbe, author of Love, Nina)

What members say

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Wicked
  • 01-01-17

Heartbreaking

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The fact that this is a true story, as told by his sister, means that there is a level of honesty and detail that you would not normally get. It's not just an account of what happened to Matty, it's about the devastating impact his accident had on his family.

Was The Last Act of Love worth the listening time?

I think so. It's a hard listen, not a book I am likely to listen to again, I was glad when it came to an end.

Any additional comments?

I can't say that I enjoyed this book, I don't think it's that kind of story. It's heartfelt and sincere yet harrowing and painful. It's well written and describes their journey in detail

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-13-16

Wonderful, beautiful story full of compassion

What did you like most about The Last Act of Love?

Beautifully account of the love Cathy has for her brother and the wonderful relationships she and her entire family share.

What did you like best about this story?

Recounting the stories of the childhood with her brother and his wonderful personality

Have you listened to any of Jenny Funnell’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Not yet but she read beautifully.

Any additional comments?

Loved this book and as a volunteer in a hospice this book gave me great insights into the grieving process. I would highly recommend this book to anyone. I was deeply moved by this book and Cathy did a wonderful job in writing it.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Rosemont
  • 05-03-16

Honest and Moving

An honest and moving account. important to read for anyone who faces losing a loved one and especially in this situation. well narrated on audible.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Julie
  • 05-21-16

very poignant and I shed a few tears

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Definitely would recommend a true account of how a family's life can change in seconds.<br/>

What did you like best about this story?

The honesty of the author

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

What would you do?

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Kate Poels
  • 02-14-16

Beautiful, touching, honest.

Cathy Rentzenbrink has beautifully told her sad tale with humour punctuating it and a warmth that shines through continually making hers a moving, honest, account of personal trauma. Perfectly done.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Anonymous User
  • 03-25-17

Fascinating

When I first heard this book existed, I wondered how it could come about that you would kill your own brother or son, not realising that in reality, the young man who was Cathy Rentzenbrink's brother was being kept alive somewhat artificially, and really not having any kind of quality of life, despite his family's absolute best efforts. If you're interested in the workings of familial love, moral dilemmas and the punishing effects of trauma, you'll enjoy this book. Small parts are, dare a say, a little tedious, like the end chapter - one gets the impression that Retzenbrink still feels an immense amount of guilt and wants to show, to herself as much as anyone else, that she really did love her brother and did what she thought was best for him. Of course she did. What shines through this book is the love that she and her family had and have for Mattie and how much they cherished him and wanted him alive. Most of the book is a captivating insight into the family dynamics, thought-processes, practicalities and most of all fluctuating, difficult feelings that come with caring for a person in a persistent vegitative state. The only tedium comes at the end, and not because the conclusion is, as you'd expect, that there isn't much conclusion - time heals a little, but grief is ever-present. The tedium is that one wants to meet Cathy and say 'I know you can't stop yourself from feeling sad, but objectively, you shouldn't feel guilty. You really did do right by your brother'. Cathy, if you're reading, you're an inspiration!

Also, great narrator!

EDIT: I've been thinking about this book and my review a lot, which shows how good it is! 'Tedious' was maybe too strong a word, and in a way what i found tedious did give a good sense of what it's like to experience trauma - the boredom of feeling guilty all the time, about everything.

'Fascinating' as a title is apt, but it is also avery moving and insightful book.

Lastly, although I accused Retzenbrink of seeking approval in her ending, it's not for me or other readers to give it - maybe something she knows and certainly something I've taken away from the book upon reflection.

Anyway, super-long review - in short, listen to this book!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • David J. Carpenter
  • 03-12-17

Honest & Heartbreaking

I listened to this in two sittings. It is a remarkably honesty and insightful account of life changing love, loss and grief. You cannot listen/read this without being moved and maybe touched, or even disturbed, as you perhaps reflect upon things deep down in yourself.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Judy Lovelock
  • 06-27-17

What a great storyline

This book is so good, you are kept on the edge of your seat, you will also shed a few tears and feel the deep pain , and wonder why it happened , it's unjust

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • C. Campbell
  • 03-27-17

Not what I expected but not disappointing either

I didn't fully read the blurb before downloading this book and so was intrigued enough by the theme of the story.

About 2 hours in I got a little more intrigued and took another look and read a few reviews which didn't paint it in the nicest light at all but made me realise that this was a true story.

This tale of the love of siblings and the crippling pain of not grieving over many years and the full impact of what eventually happened was a good story made great by the passionate, honest and plain realness of the telling.

I enjoyed the story. I feel sadness that something like this happened and the effects that it had on all of the loved ones surrounding Matty. I feel honoured that the story was shared.

Thank you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lara
  • 05-15-17

Emotional, thought provoking & heart warming

I thought the beginning of the story was a bit slow & I wasn't warming to the characters that much. I persevered & I'm really glad I did. Anyone who has recently suffered a loss can relate to this story in one way or another.