The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink

I don’t often read Non Fiction titles.


I find that the majority of history books can be dull and patronising, while autobiographies are guarded and vacuous at best.


The word I would use to describe The Last Act of Love is ‘memoir’. It doesn’t tell the full tale of Rentzenbrink’s life up to this point, nor does it tell the story of her brother’s life.


Instead, it’s the story of his death.


I’m finding it very difficult to talk about this book, perhaps because it’s real. People actually felt this pain. These tragic events actually happened.


But this isn’t relentlessly tragic, it reflects the events of what happened. Some of it hard, some of it upsetting, but some of it positive, uplifting even.


I find it weird that I sat next to Cathy at a meal last year, and I had no idea about all that had happened, though I did get a whisper that was writing a book.


Perhaps she puts it best herself when she talks about carrying the grief around in a rucksack. She’s learnt how to carry that rucksack around with her, and accepts it always will be there. But what she notes with some insight is that nearly everyone has a rucksack of some sort.


Everyone has a story, a tale. Some of them don’t have the twists and turns that exist in others. Some are smaller in scale than others. But they’re still there. They’re still as heavy.


Maybe one of the reasons I don’t really like Non Fiction titles is something that the author notes shortly after her rucksack observation. Those of us who have been brought up with books, specifically fiction, crave some kind of narrative resolution, that simply doesn’t exist in real life.


If there’s one thing I’ll take from this book it’s this; The story goes on, it continues to be told. And we have to learn to go on with it.


Despite my scoring system being geared towards fiction, The Last Act of Love manages to score an impressive 4.1 out of 5.


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