Being Mrs Smith is a rather extraordinary memoir of love, courage and healing. It follows Mr and Mrs Smith over the course of a couple of years as Mr Smith is diagnosed with cancer and they face up to the decisions they need to make regarding his treatment. As they look to the future and what may happen in the long term, they need to confront the possibility that “There may not be a long term. Or even a medium term.” Theirs is a journey that takes them from treatment in Scotland, to Germany and ultimately to Peru.
From the very beginning the strength of the love between Mr and Mrs Smith shone through. I had a lump in my throat as I read that when considering if Ewan McGregor should play him in a film version of their story Mrs Smith couldn’t ” think of anyone who’s anywhere near handsome enough to play my Mr Smith.” This is a couple who know what true love is and the author writes so eloquently about how they feel about each other. Mr and Mrs Smith know that what matters is being together and supporting each other. Cheryl’s writing about their love seems very intimate, is elegant and so obviously heartfelt.
Their decision to research and seek out alternative treatments is perhaps a decision that not many would make. I did feel uncomfortable reading about how the medical staff seemed to reject out of hand their queries about alternatives. Like most people, I have many friends and family who have gone through cancer treatment and usually they have nothing but praise for the doctors and nurses. Looking at modern alternatives and ancient traditions was something Mr and Mrs Smith felt very strongly about though and I could completely understand their need for quality of life over quantity. It was not a decision they made lightly.
I was moved so many times as I read this short though captivating book. Cheryl Smith’s writing is beautifully lyrical as she conveys so well all the times the couple’s hopes were raised and dashed and raised again, the importance of the love and support of their friends and the Peruvian community but above all the love shared between Mr and Mrs Smith. It is a very honest, poignant account of a courageous couple finding peace and their own version of a happy ending. I know I have mentioned love a lot in this review but it really is at the heart of the book and shines from every page.
My thanks to the author for offering me a copy of her book. Being Mrs Smith was published by O-Books on 1 June 2016 in both paperback and ebook formats. You can order a copy online here. At the time of writing the Kindle edition is only £2.79.
From the back of the book
Being Mrs Smith always did mean embracing the unexpected, but even Mrs Smith didn’t expect an Amazonian adventure. When the horror of cancer touched the Smiths, they embarked on a journey to ultimate healing and peace. This is the story of their journey. Faced with heart-rending decisions, they accept unmissable opportunities with a courageousness they never knew they had. In the deepest jungle regions, they encounter charlatans and shamans and learn to distinguish between them. Surrendering to the path that is theirs to take, they embrace ancient teachings and strange medicines, and grasp the opportunity to dance with the spirits of sacred plants, including that of Ayahuasca. Far from home, the Smiths learn the true value of family and community as they place their trust in the wisdom of the indigenous elders, in themselves and in each other, and ultimately in Nature herself. Here is a rare story of healing that tells of the melding of souls as Mr and Mrs Smith walk each other home.