The Language of Kindness
Waterstones Non-Fiction Book of the Month for January 2019 Following a 20-year career that included stints at Great Ormond Street Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, author and former nurse Christie Watson shares a personal, timely and indispensably important story that gives voice to those whose job it is to care for us at our most vulnerable and at our last. Nursing is – or should be – an indiscriminate act of caring, compassion and empathy. It should be a reminder of our capacity to love one another. If the way we treat our most vulnerable is a measure of our society, then the act of nursing itself is a measure of our humanity. Yet it is the most undervalued of all the professions. Moving through her twenty-year career in nursing, Christie recounts moments of intense and deeply moving experience; from nursing a premature baby who has miraculously made it through the night, to the pain and privilege of washing the hair of a child fatally injured in a fire, attempting to remove the toxic smell of smoke before the grieving family arrive. For Christie, ‘both nursing and writing are about stepping into other shoes all the time’ and, in The Language of Kindness, she brings readers inside a closed circle of life at its most visceral, raw and vital. Drawing on her professional experience and on the profound impact of her father’s death from cancer, Christie turns a personal memoir into a quietly fervent examination of the necessity of care and what its value says about our society and who we are. ‘In an age where we have everything’, Christie argues, ‘when our living conditions are better, when our general health and education should be at a universally higher standard, we are suffering as never before.’ In the face of this, her book offers a beacon of hope, a reminder of the best in human nature. Poignant, tender and told with generosity of spirit, it is a book readers will want to press, insistently, into the hands of others. Written exclusively for Waterstones to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS, read an exclusive article by Christie Watson about what nursing means to her.