Opinion

Saturday 20 October 2018

A compassionate homage to life on the wards

Memoir: The Language Of Kindness, Christie Watson, Chatto & Windus, hardback, 336 ­pages,€17.99

A life of care: Christie Watson worked in the NHS for two decades. Pic: Lottie Davies
A life of care: Christie Watson worked in the NHS for two decades. Pic: Lottie Davies
The Language Of Kindness by Christie Watson

Eilis O'Hanlon

An unflinching honesty about the human cost of the ancient but undervalued profession of nursing defines this compelling and universally relevant memoir.

Christie Watson left school at 16 and moved in with an older boyfriend. That didn't last long. She then worked at a video store, lasted two weeks at agricultural college and one week doing a course in travel and tourism, until someone suggested that she become a nurse because they'd provide her with accommodation while training. On her first day, she fainted at the sight of blood. The supervisor admitted that it happened a lot, but suggested "you might want to rethink your career".

Watson went on to work as a registered National Health Service nurse in the UK for 20 years before giving it up to become a full-time writer, winning the Costa First Novel Award for her debut, Tiny Sunbirds Far Away.

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