Bad Hair Days
MUP, $32.95 pb, 226 pp, 9780522853698
Pamela Bone has written a remarkably brave book. She writes about how the chemotherapy which she underwent after the diagnosis of multiple myeloma in 2004 robbed her of the fearlessness of her life as journalist, human rights activist, feminist, and public speaker. She pays tribute to the late British journalist John Diamond, who insisted that writing about his cancer was not brave at all. Bone disagrees: ‘I think he was very brave. And although he is dead, his voice, with its decency and wit, speaks to me from the pages of his book.’ Bravery, decency and wit are among many words that could equally be used to characterise Bones’s own voice, which mercifully is still strong, always profoundly intelligent and humane as she addresses the big questions of death and dying, poverty and injustice, all the while paying tribute to the love of family and friends, the dedicated and good-humoured care of health professionals, and the kindness of strangers.