This is Not a Pity Memoir

The heartbreaking and life-affirming memoir from the writer of The Split

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Pub Date 12 May 2022 | Archive Date 12 May 2022

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The kind of book you will find yourself saying urgently, over and over, to friends: 'Have you read it?' CAITLIN MORAN

'Gripping, funny and always honest' DAVID NICHOLLS

'I honestly couldn't put it down' MARINA HYDE

An ordinary day.
The end of ordinary life.

One morning in June, Abi had her to-do list - drop the kids to school, get coffee and go to work. Jacob had a bad headache so she added 'pick up steroids'. She returned home and found the man she loved and fought and laughed with for twenty years lying on the bathroom floor.

And nothing would ever be the same again.

But this is not a pity memoir. It's about meeting your person. And crazed late night Google trawls. It's about the things you wished you'd said to the person that matters then wildly over-sharing with the barista who doesn't know you at all. It's about sushi and the wrong shoes and the moments you want to shout 'cut'. It's about the silence when you are lost in space and the importance of family and parties and noise.

It's the difference between surviving and living.
It's a reminder that, even in the worst times, there is light ahead.

It's a love story.

From the BAFTA and Emmy award-winning screen writer, Abi Morgan, comes her highly anticipated, heartbreaking yet hopeful memoir. 


The kind of book you will find yourself saying urgently, over and over, to friends: 'Have you read it?' CAITLIN...

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ISBN 9781529388336
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Featured Reviews

I have just finished the final page of this extremely thought-provoking and moving book by Abi Morgan and I just think it’s an incredibly brilliant piece of writing. I was keen to read it as I loved the movie ‘Shame’ and the TV show ‘The Split.’ I did not know what this book was about in advance but I knew I enjoyed seeing Abi Morgan’s writing being brought to life.

This book takes us through an incredibly tough few years for author and her family. Her writing is so honest and raw, you feel you are privy to her innermost thoughts at the toughest of times. What came through in this book is the strength and resilience of those at the heart of this story and the love and support of family and friends. Thank you to the author for sharing her moving story, it’s not one I will forget.

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What a stunning book! I loved the writing and there were so many moments where it broke my heart. I can't wait to read more by this author.

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This was such a good, moving read. And I think Abi Morgan sums it up brilliantly at the end of the book ( this is not a spoiler) .

There is no such thing as pity memoirs, only words on pages and if they mean something to someone, they are worth being said.

Abi Morgan to many would have the perfect life…. Successful film script writer, loving actor partner, 2 teenage children , a London home and a holiday house in Italy…

But Jacob, Abis partner, is found collapsed one day at home and it is over a year before he returns home. The impact of medication that has been withdrawn that was treating his MS. The effect on him is devastating… months in a coma, in hospital for rehabilitation …. And in the midst of it all Abi is diagnosed with breast cancer.

This is a story of dealing with the darkest of times. Laced both with humour and with darkness. And love that shines through.
Am in total admiration of Abi and her family. Yes, to some this might be a pity memoir, but to me it’s a memoir of love and hope.

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A very immersive read and an honest account of lives totally upended. I was utterly absorbed in Abu Morgan’s account of the day that changed everything for her family - what it meant for her husband, their relationship, her children. So much to think about and so much admiration for her as a person.

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This is Not a Pity Memoir completely blew me away. It is a powerful, unflinching examination of a family’s life after the unthinkable happens: their father/partner becomes critically ill and then has a long recovery ahead with the possibility that he may never fully recover. I had long admired the work of Abi Morgan so knew the writing would be excellent but I had no idea about her personal life and what her family has been through when I read this: she articulates all the fears and worries and frustrations and dark thoughts and basic logistical nightmares that come with a family member’s illness exceptionally. When you think this family cannot take anymore, Morgan reveals she then had her own health worries to contend with. And yet despite all of this, the memoir is not a depressing read - it is a story of resilience and puts any trivial concerns the reader may have into perspective. For those going through similar life events, I can only imagine that it may make them feel less alone as despite the amount of support Morgan herself had, she is very honest about the loneliness the situation created. I particularly recommend this to anyone who has also loved Maggie O’Farrell’s memoir ‘I am, I am, I am’ as it is completely alters your perspective on life in a similar way.

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Heartwrenching, hopeful, a testament to love, family and loyalty. There is also humour, a lot of it bleak, but it lightens the reading of what is a devastating story.

Very best wishes to Abi, Jacob and their families.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an ARC.

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You’ll know Abi Morgan as one of the UK’s finest scriptwriters, and so you won’t be surprised when she takes her red pen to the improbably traumatic last few years of her life:

“Not cancer too. It’s too repetitive after the coma.”

It’s funnier when she says it, mind: funnier and more devastating; a gut-punch that will reduce you to tears. This Is Not A Pity Memoir is a no-holds barred, warts-and-all love story, brutal and brilliant and true. This is a stunning piece of work, and the best thing I have read so far this year.

“[N]o-one can prepare you for the utter shock of the backflip, the left-field pitch, the curveball, that knocks all that you are, all you have known, for shit. If it’s coming for you, it’s coming for you. No point trying to hide from it.”

Thank you Abi, thank you Jacob, for sharing your story at the time I needed to hear it the most. Wishing you both every happiness.

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A straight up five star book, no hesitation. Written so beautifully that I could hear Abi and her family in my head - a family that’s been through an unimaginable amount. Funny and heartbreaking at turns, and the title is spot on.

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What a book! I personally found it to be a very hard read, as Husband and I are also struggling with his ill health, that has totally affected our outlook on life. It is a powerful read, a highly emotional account of the life changing events that have affected all members of the her family.
Abi’s husband Jacob, collapses after a drug that he was taking to control his MS, is withdrawn. He spends a year recovering, the results are devastating for the family and Jacob.
My husband collapsed after his first Covid 19 jab, he spent three weeks in hospital with blood clots to the brain, spine and feet. A year later, we are told, no new progress can be achieved, brutally harsh.
This novel portrays the feelings of disbelief that is primary, why such events happen. There is a grim determination to get answers, to get through this horror that has been inflicted upon a family, the attempts to regain all that has been lost, possibly for ever. There is always the hope that there will be better times ahead, but, we have to get used to a new normal.
Jacob doesn’t recognise Abi, he wants nothing to do with her. My husband has been left with STML, all our shared memories have gone, it’s a real conversation killer!! This novel is full of clinical details that will be so useful for Nursing and Medical staff in these situations. I fully intend to buy copies for our local teaching hospital library, to say thanks for all their skilled care of my husband.
It confronts all the fears that are unspoken, but keep carers awake at night. I got better access to NHS services as a caregiver , rather than a wife!! I’m not ashamed to admit I cried over this book, it was a challenging read, but it did help, it did provide some comfort, it hinted at hope and a strong belief, that better times are ahead, and that is what you have to believe. A powerful book.
Many thanks to Netgalley and the publishers John Murray Press, for my digital copy, in exchange for my honest, unbiased review. I have given this five stars. I will leave reviews to other outlets later.

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I was blown away by Morgan's strength and of her entire family. A reminder that life can change in a flash in ways you can never imagine.

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