Three Amazing Things About You – Jill Mansell // Book Review

It’s not often that I come across a book that includes a Cystic Fibrosis storyline. In fact, I’ve never come across a book that even mentions it. Unless you have the condition, it would be very difficult to write about as it can be quite complicated and therefore hard to understand what it’s like to live with it every day. That’s why, when the CF Trust tweeted about some books that do include it in their story, I was eager to read them.

I started with Three Amazing Things About You and I was impressed. I was surprised to find that the CF storyline was so realistic and true to life. Jill Mansell definitely did her research and managed to capture the life, thoughts, feelings and behaviours of someone living with CF with incredible accuracy.

The book follows three women who live separate lives, but without realising it their lives intertwine. One of the main characters is called Hallie and she has Cystic Fibrosis. Her parts of the book describe her life as a patient on the transplant list. While I am healthier than Hallie, and not yet on the transplant list, I’m not naive enough to think that I never will be. I really enjoyed reading about this character as I could associate with her. It also helped that it was so realistic!

Aspects of CF life included in the book:

  • Hallie experiences cynicism and negativity from people who do not understand the condition and misinterpret the symptoms. In a scene at the airport, Hallie gets to fast-track the queue as she is in a wheelchair, but when she later stands up, she hears other people complaining. CF can be described as an invisible illness. We can walk and talk, and we don’t need crutches but when we’re unwell the symptoms are on the inside. It can disable us, even if it’s not obvious.
  • Hallie makes sure to keep a positive attitude throughout, despite all the things that could be getting her down. This is a characteristic I’ve noticed in a lot of people with CF and people have pointed it out about me too. Despite the symptoms of CF, we always try to stay positive and get on with things. We take it all as it comes, deal with it and move on.
  • During her time on the transplant list, Hallie loses a CF friend. This isn’t something that is often considered as a side effect of CF, but we go through this quite often. People generally assume that you’re too busy thinking about and dealing with your own CF, and they’ll forget that sometimes you have to deal with other people’s CF too – the illness of CF friends that you’ve made. How do you deal with it when you lose them? It’s not easy and the loss will always be a shock. It’s something that I’ve been working through recently too – take a read here.
  • When Hallie is talking to a guy in the pub without her wheelchair or her oxygen, she feels normal and she tries to hold onto that feeling for as long as she can. This is a feeling that you wouldn’t really know unless you had something that made you ‘different’. She was just like any other girl at the pub that night and that’s all we want – to feel like we are not unlike everyone else, despite the fact that we spend time taking tablets, nebulisers and coughing when our friends were straightening their hair and putting on make-up.

CF and organ donation are the main themes of the book, and if you ask me, it’s about time we had more publicity around these issues. You could help up to 8 people by donating your organs – you could save someone’s life, take away someone’s pain and help many people to live a normal life. Find out more or register here.

If you fancy reading about CF and finding out more about life with the condition, I would recommend this book!


// Beth

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