The first novel ever written about Cicely Saunders (1918-2005), the English doctor who changed how the world looked at terminal care, fighting pain with the most revolutionary of all cures: empathy.
Dame Saunders has been the founder of the modern hospice movement and a champion of palliative care. To be published in Italy by Bompiani in September 2023, "Da nessuna parte è scritto" (Nobody Said That) tells the extraordinary life of this resilient, unconventional, and deeply compassionate woman who fought against prejudice and negligence to chase a dream for the benefit of all.
England, 1940s. Nobody said that one can’t leave Oxford when graduation is just around the corner. That’s what Cicely decides to do, in order to become a nurse and join the war effort as best as she can. She enrolls at the Nightingale Nursery School with the highest hopes, only to discover that her appearance is a cause of mockery – and what’s worse, that her back problems won’t permit her to work in the field. None of this discourages her, and she eventually graduates.
But nobody said that you can’t start again, and that’s what Cicely does when she becomes a social worker at St Thomas Hospital. There she meets David, who has cancer and is terminally ill. Their love is overwhelming, even if it lasts only for 52 days. But David leaves her with a very significant gift: the idea of opening a house when terminally ill patients are carefully assisted, both in body and spirit.
All in all, nobody said that you can’t give up your well-established career in social working and go back to university. If she wants to achieve her goal, Cicely must be taken seriously by others. And she must be a doctor.
This is just the beginning of her journey to give dignity to everyone in their final days. Because nobody said that we should accept suffering as it is and as it comes.
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Vito di Battista
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