Glittering a Turd – Kris Hallenga

Published By: Unbound
Pages: 280
Released On: 19/08/2021

Kris was living a totally normal life as a twenty-three-year-old: travelling the world, falling in love, making plans. However, when she found a lump in her boob and was told that it was not only cancer, but also incurable, life took on a completely new meaning. She was diagnosed at an age when life wasn’t something to be grateful for, but a goddamn right.

Little did Kris know it was cancer that would lead her to a life she had never considered: a happy one. From founding a charity to visiting Downing Street, campaigning at festivals to appearing on TV, and being present at the birth of her nephew; in the face of all the possible prognoses, Kris is surviving, thriving, and resolutely living.

*****

I remember when Kris and Coppafeel first came to the public knowledge – I can’t believe that’s over a decade ago now!

Her outlook on cancer and living with cancer is so life affirming. I’ve mentioned it before but I’ll mention it again for the sake of this review; I lost my father in 2017, 9 months after a terminal diagnosis of cancer and the whole time was a horrible, difficult, turd of a time, and it would have been very easy to crumble. As I’m sure Kris did at times, but she also learnt how to live. Yes she was given a terminal diagnosis, but cancer diagnoses are no longer always the death sentence they once were. She was given 2-3 years life expectancy and here she is, over ten years later.

I couldn’t put it down, Kris had me hooked straight away. It is funny and emotional and trustworthy, thoughtful and important and so real. She doesn’t hide away from the fact that having cancer, and knowing someone with cancer, is a real shit show (literally and figuratively), but she also doesn’t hide away from the fact it can bring joy into your life. You learn to live more if you know your time is numbered.

Kris doesn’t like to be called inspirational or brave just because she has this disease, and I know so many people who agree with her. And yet I still feel anyone who lives with a chronic or terminal condition, and really LIVES with it, is inspirational. I know how hard chronic illnesses can be, and whilst my chronic pain is nowhere near a terminal cancer diagnosis, my belief still stands.

You would think this book would be a real downer, a real tear-jerker, and yes it will make you cry in parts, but overall it’s really positive. If you’re like me, you will devour it in one sitting as it’s just phenomenal.

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