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Writers are Readers: “Goodbyes Before You’re Gone”

REVIEWER: Tom Hernandez

AUTHOR: Allison (Allie) Rios

Book TITLE: Goodbyes Before You’re Gone

GENERAL SYNOPSIS: An emotional, empathetic telling of the experiences of the family, friends and caretakers for 10 people who are struck by brain cancer, including the author who cared for her mother.

GENERAL IMPRESSIONS: Although Allie and I are good friends and I admire her talent, I had no interest in nor reason to read this book until I too got brain cancer in May 2022.

I picked it up though and committed myself to reading the first chapter (Allie’ story with her mother) and found myself captured by her masterful way of conveying incredibly personal details in a way that felt universal. Several times I found myself having to stop because I recognized myself in her words and story.


It’s not so much how it will affect my writing, because I also tend to write first-person essays, but rather how it will affect my reading and, dare I say, my own recovery and recognition of the terrible effects of this disease on myself and others. I do not mind admitting that I am terrified and angry, but having read this book I understand that, while those feelings are “normal” they don’t have to be all consuming. Life goes on, until it doesn’t. THANK YOU MY DEAR FRIEND.

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