I wish this book had been around during the 12 years I suffered from ME. Ackerman writes with genuine empathy from the position of someone who has lived with life-changing illness. Drawing on this and her training as a GP, she offers a wealth of wisdom on how to live the new life that many people find thrust upon them.

Offering many practical suggestions, she gently encourages readers to take small steps to fight back and reclaim their lives; albeit different lives from the ones they might have been expecting. She looks at the physical, emotional and spiritual challenges that occur and covers a wide range of topics including loss, fatigue, boredom, questioning God and facing death.

Ackerman uses the story of Joseph being sold into slavery, thrown in prison and eventually emerging stronger and wiser to draw out some important principles. Her light touch and understanding mean the reader isn’t left with a sense of failure or condemnation, which can so easily happen with some Christian books on sickness.

The book is made up of small bites, making it easier to read for those who are ill. There are some excellent reflection questions at the end of each chapter, which are worth spending time on, and I loved the humorous line drawings.

Ackerman writes from a Christian perspective, but there is so much wise and helpful advice that it might be worth considering as a gift for people of other faiths or none. It would also be a good book for friends and family of people with long-term illness to gain a better understanding of the issues they face. This is an excellent and much-needed resource for a group of people who are often forgotten. It is a truly hopeful read. 

HELEN VALLER is a wife, mother and grandmother