Review: Julie Randall – Patient 71

Patient 71
Julie Randall

Julie Randall went from being a partying 50 year old to having major surgery to remove a tumour from her brain in less than a month. Following that, Julie had to fight to get the treatment she needed in order to survive and be with her kids – whether she’s in Australia or not.

So it’s a reasonable enough memoir but not exactly what I was hoping for. As long-time readers will know, I’m a scientist by training and so I was hoping for more juicy details about everything – the science behind the new treatment, the ‘magic pill’ that might have cured everything, what’s it’s really like to be a scientific guinea pig. Instead, I got a bit of a repetitive heartthrob tale that I didn’t really feel any inclination to keep reading. Instead I would have thought that “breakfast, school run, chemo” is actually a more relatable story even if that one doesn’t actually have a happy ending so to speak. Cancer is hard.

I appreciate that the author is a real person, with real problems, and I would hate to read a negative review of a novel I had probably put a lot of time into crafting. But honestly, some of the fault must also lie with the publishers. This book could have benefited from some significant editorial guidance. There’s a lot of inconsistent tenses and it would have been really useful to define who is alive/dead earlier in the novel. Additionally, I know the author actually wrote letters to her dead mother while undergoing treatment, but I actually found the letters quite distracting and not actually very useful.

The author makes it sound like this wonder drug is a complete cure but at any time, as far as I can see, the cancer could return. She seems to say that she has monthly treatments on a maintenance dosage. I really hope she’s making the most of life that she has left, because knowing about drugs and cancer, they always have the capacity to surprise you.

I’d also like to complain about the repetitiveness of Julie’s little chant about ‘My body is healthy, my organs are healthy’. I’m all for mindfulness and appreciating what you have, and supporting your body mentally, but arg! it just was very irritating for me. There is some useful things to take from this because it promotes still having a healthy lifestyle and remaining active as much you, but also really pushing for the help that you need.

Thankfully no need to provide stars for this one. Look elsewhere for an Australian cancer memoir.

Hachette Australia | 27th June 2017| AU$32.99 | paperback

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4 thoughts on “Review: Julie Randall – Patient 71

  1. You are an absolute **. There is not one other person that has taken this incredible story in the way that you have .

    • For the purposes of transparency, I have published your comment.

      As I replied to Jorja!, this is a comment on the novel and writing, not the author as a person or her story. I am certain that more reviews will be published in time, and as a fair and honest reviewer, this is my opinion alone.

  2. This is the most ridiculous review I have ever seen! What a horrible person you are! I hope you don’t have to experience cancer in the way she has to know how she is feeling! For scientists you sound pretty dam stupid. Your sad sad person. And your comment towards my dead grandmother is digusting! You Shameless pig!

    • For the purposes of transparency, I have published your comment.

      Not all cancer survivors are authors, and not all authors are cancer survivors. And not all authors are equal, and neither are their publishers and editors. This review is of the novel and its author, not your grandmother as a person.

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