Book reviews

Cath Stancliffe’s The Kindest Thing (Robinson, 2010)

A wonderful example of anti-Catholicism at its best from a British perspective, this novel contains the usual cast of characters who support assisted suicide: a protagonist who is called a “non-believer”, her dead husband who was a fallen-away Catholic, pages of attacks against Catholic sexual ethics (see pages 157-9), and frequent references to pagan deities and Greek mythological characters (see, for example, pages 58, 80, 129, 156, and 261).

That the characters cannot speak coherently and logically about assisted suicide is evident in an interchange between Adam, the protagonist’s son, and Deborah, his mother, accused of killing her husband.  One passage illustrates the lack of logic on this issue.  When Deborah says, “If I say that I did it to help him and I knew what I was doing they will find me guilty of murder”, Adam’s response is the nonsensical and pathetic “That’s mental—that’s totally cracked” instead of logically recognizing that his mother’s killing of his father is just that, a killing (136).

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