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Weaving together touching scenes from her family history and her own life, Ami McKay’s intimate and captivating memoir captures what it means to live fully even when you know your life may be cut short.
In 1895, Ami McKay’s great-great aunt, a dressmaker named Pauline Gross, confided to a medical professor that she expected to die young, like many in her family before her. With her help, that doctor launched a family study that eventually led to the identification of the genetic mutation now known as Lynch syndrome, which predisposes its carriers to several types of cancer. In 2001, Ami was among the first to be tested for the syndrome. And now she’s written the captivating story of how she, like her mother before her, learned to carry on with joy, with hope, and with a bold hunger for life in the face of an uncertain future.
Ami writes of her childhood, “I listened to the women in my family tell stories of the past…sitting around the kitchen table with my mother, sometimes laughing until they cried, sometimes sobbing through words of grief. They spoke of relatives who lived before I was born—people who came from nothing, who faced great hardship, who died too young. The women in those tales stared down death, looked after the sick, and conversed with fate. They spread the truth through story, even when others didn’t wish to hear it. This is how I learned that stories have power—to make sense of the world, to give voice to dreams, to nurture hope and banish fear.”