Review: How about some non-fiction?

Reviewer Cathy Speight

Why do we read? For all sorts of reasons: to learn, for pleasure, for relaxation, for inspiration, or for stimulation. What do we read to furnish us with these delights? Fiction? – thrillers, sci-fi, romance, erotica, horror? To each, his/her own – we all have our own ‘fixes’. So where do non-fiction, true-life accounts figure in all this? Personally, reading for me is balm for the soul and fiction is what provides it. However, two books came my way, each written by a woman who had undergone an extraordinary, near-fatal, life-changing illness. I wouldn’t normally pick up a book written by the sufferer of a particular disease or illness unless I too was suffering from the same condition, but these two books were compelling reads.

The first of these books is Heartaches and Miracles by Greta Burroughs who relates her experiences of a blood disorder called ITP, an autoimmune disease. Greta writes children’s books, two of which have been published. The second is In a Flash – Miracles Here and Beyond by Kim Justus, who survived an aneurysm. Kim works in the Financial Services industry and writing and photography are amongst her many hobbies.

Although their conditions are completely different, what these two ladies have in common is courage, determination and selflessness. Writing the stories of their experiences must have been difficult for both – it will have been hard to relive the traumas they endured. I was especially touched by the lack of resentment or complaint or a ‘why me?’ attitude by either author.

Neither book is long or weighed down with detailed medical terminology. They are fascinating ‘diaries’ of these courageous ladies’ feelings, emotions, hopes and fears of their experiences. You may not have suffered from either condition, but you may well know of someone who has or does. If you are fortunate enough to be hearty and hale, you will find these short accounts very sobering and you may well find yourself thinking, ‘there, but for the Grace of God, go I’.

For the full reviews of both these books, please see:

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Cathy Speight is an accomplished book reviewer and Chief Consulting Reviewer at Indies Unlimited. For more information, please see the IU Bio page and her blog.


Author: Cathy Speight

Reviewer Cathy Speight is British and lives in England. The Kindle revived her passion for reading and after stumbling on a Facebook group of independent authors, she now does her best to encourage and assist indies as much as possible. Books by indie author form the majority of her collection. Cathy shares her views on the books she has read on her blog.

14 thoughts on “Review: How about some non-fiction?”

  1. Nonfction can be just as interesting and entertaining as any other book. Give it a go!

  2. While fiction is a great escape, non fiction evokes real emotion from real people. While our "stories" may be different, or diseases unfamiliar…The themes are universal. Everyone has experienced grief, fear, isolation, need for hope, desire for a miracle, joy & disappointment. The readers will be able to relate, and hopefully confirm or be comforted by the way others work through "life on life's terms." Appreciate your interest.:)

  3. I like that they're not weighed down by medical terminology. Should make it easier to reach into the human aspect of it. That's why "I" read 🙂

    My favorite stories, whether they're fiction or nonfiction, are the ones that have the deepest psychologist, but aren't overdone. Subtle, I guess you could say, yet deep.

  4. Reading nonfiction was what inspired me to write. I love fiction for escapism but narrative nonfiction, especially memoir, makes me get up and do stuff. And then write about it.

    Books about coping with crisis may not be for all of us but I discovered accidentally while writing (what I thought was) a travelogue that if you deal with a medical problem (in my case, dementia) with humour and hope, many people will benefit.

    1. Carolyn – they do indeed benefit. Some people go to counselling or groups, but it's not for everyone. Reading about someone else's similar experiences is often a good alternative.

  5. Thanks for mentioning these books. Heartache and Miracles sounds interesting to me especially because I used to manage clinical research for a treatment for ITP and although I understand the biology of it, I understand very little about living with it. What draws me to many books, non-fiction and fiction alike, is the opportunity to see a personal perspective on something that I have only read about, or maybe know nothing about at all.

    1. Absolutely, Krista – you hit the nail on the head – you read about such topics and they register vaguely, but when you read a book about a person's experiences, it's only then you realise the effect on a sufferer's life and how it effects them physically, mentally and emotionally. It is the latter which is eye-opening.

  6. Narrative non-fiction can be very entertaining, and one can learn a lot from it. (Remember Durrell?)Memoirs are one kind of narrative non-fiction, and I have read a lot of Ian Mathie's African travel books. What a delight. Start with Bride Price – a treat.

    I read quite a bit of biography because it not only gives insights into why celebrities and famous writers did what they did and wrote what they wrote, but there are real stories in there, so it's learning, understanding and enjoying at the same time.

    Books about writing abound, especially how-to books, and one must be careful when making choices. I always ask myself: why did this author write this book? The answer always sways me on way or another.

    1. Oh yes, I remember Durrell – I read them blankety-blank years ago (!) and thoroughly enjoyed them. These two books reminded me that I should read more nonfiction.

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