Title: The Kindest Thing
Author: Cath Staincliffe
Publisher: Constable & Robinson (C & R Crime)
First Published: May 2010 (Paperback)
No .of pages: 272
Synopsis (from Amazon):
When Deborah reluctantly helps her beloved husband Neil end his life and conceals the truth, she is charged with murder. As the trial unfolds and her daughter Sophie testifies against her, Deborah, still reeling with grief, fights to defend her actions. Twelve jurors hold her fate in their hands, if found guilty she will serve a life sentence. Deborah seeks solace in her memories of Neil and their children and the love they shared. An ordinary woman caught up in an extraordinary situation. A finely written page-turner, compelling, eloquent, heart-breaking. The Kindest Thing tackles a controversial topic with skill and sensitivity. A book that begs the question: what would you do?
This was quite a riveting read for me. I thought I had quite a solid opinion on assisted suicide but over the course of the book I have questioned it several times and I’m now much less sure of where I stand. The story is told from the viewpoint of Deborah who is on trial for the murder of her husband Neil. Neil was a Motor Neurone Disease sufferer and Deborah assisted him when he decided it was time to end his life. Whilst the book is solely from Deborah’s view, as the story and the trial unfolds you begin to see the wider consequences of what has happened to this family.
Although my opinions on the subject have wavered, my support for Deborah through the book remained. You are never far from the fact that she truly loved her husband and everything she did was for him despite her better judgement. You really feel for her when she describes the hellish time she had even contemplating what her husband wanted of her and for me, the most poignant moment was the realisation of what she had taken from her children. Yes, she had helped her husband and done as he asked but her children were denied the opportunity to say goodbye and possibly from seeing their mother again as she is put on trial.
The ups and downs of the trial has kept me riveted throughout and I must admit that I stayed in my bath considerably longer than I really should have but I just had to know poor Deborah’s fate. I won’t give the ending away but I will encourage you all to go and read this.