We Can Make a Life

Henry, Chessie

  20 Reviews

Telling your family's story is a daunting task, but Chessie Henry proves herself up to the challenge. The daughter of rural GP Chris Henry and his wife Esther, Chessie, the eldest of five, narrates her parents' story but it is the shockwaves of the 2011 Christchurch and the 2016 Kaikoura earthquakes that shape this inspiring book.

Encapsulated by its subtitle, 'a memoir of family, earthquakes and courage', this uplifting and insightful accounting of a loving and resilient family also gives voice to the untenable stresses and strains placed on rural doctors and their families.



Many interesting sub plots, but we were hoping for more insights into being an ageing G.P. Nice to have a N.Z. specific element that we could relate to.
GORE 001
A difficult, challenging book but beautifully written. We feel that Chessie has a great future as a writer. Some in the group felt a little voyeuristic reading this biography but all agreed it was a story which needed to be told. We didn't need to be reminded of the earthquakes, but a raised awareness of the difficulties regarding rural medicine was very important.
ASHB 016
We all loved this book - great discussion. I think it made an impact on us because we all a had a story to tell about what we were doing or where we were when this actually happened - for both earthquakes. We also remember the terrible car accident as it was in our district so lots of talking about this book. Very well written, both about how her father was affected and how it affected the rest of his family - and she was quite young when she wrote it. We even You-Tubed the Nana Mouskouri song that he sailed to...loved it!
AUCK 014
More than someone else's memoir for most of us since we all felt such a strong connection to so many elements of Chessie's narrative. The extraordinary story was deeply personal but also rich with observation that went beyond just one family. An inspiring record of resilience. It was an important and significant reminder of one of New Zealand's most significant events...already history but with so much still to learn from it. Definitely worth reading.
A fascinating first book. Brilliantly written and very readable.
CHCH 155
Chessie's story was enjoyed by all. A delight in the family dynamics. The direct interviews were a great way to face the earthquakes' impact. Very moving.
Prescribed reading for all Cantabrians! Members "appreciated" knowing more about the traumas experienced during the earthquakes. We thought Chessie wrote with a lovely style. A wonderful first book. Also read by several husbands!
AUCK 060
We think this book should be a compulsory text. There is so much to learn within its covers and it created wonderful insightful discussion.
We all rated this book very highly. It is written with compassion and clarity as the family faces challenges and difficulties. Brave, honest and very moving.
METH 001
The earthquake section shone, and the "black dog" explained well. Some thought the beginning a bit clunky, however most REALLY enjoyed the read.
TAUP 011
We all really enjoyed this book and found it very insightful, particularly with regard to the role of a rural GP. It was also extremely topical.
We all enjoyed this beautiful book. Chessie had written an insightful biography of her parents and family. Her decision to write up the interviews of her parents was an excellent choice. We look forward to more from Chessie. Would love to read more about her mother and her life.
We enjoyed this fascinating memoir - although some considered it "patchy" in parts. Well-written, it is a vivid account of the life of the author's parents - particularly her G.P. father. The first person account of his involvement in the Christchurch earthquake was particularly moving.
Group all enjoyed book. Insight into the pressures and expectations of a rural G.P, and the heroism during the earthquake (unsung). We enjoyed the author's writing style.
Very mature writing that includes insightful and moving accounts of the life of a rural GP and a verbatim account of the experiences in the Christchurch earthquake. Showed a strong and loving family through all the ups and downs. We all enjoyed it and would recommend it.
It's not often our group all enjoy a book, but in this case we gave it a wholehearted thumbs up. We thought the writer and her family were very brave to be so open about their story and their emotional life. We were impressed with the writing from such a young author and look forward to more books from her. The book note questions were very thought provoking and focused more on the readers than the book, which led to an in depth discussion and we all learned more about each other as a result.
CHCH 176
Splendid writing and a brave exposure of a much loved family. Complicated and complex - we found the earthquake reminders very difficult and disturbing.
Everyone enjoyed the book, and in particular, the insight into the life of a rural GP. We particularly liked the 'interview' transcript about the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes.
This got a big thumbs up from all of our members, we had the utmost respect for such a young author who could attempt and succeed in capturing the realities of her family life, throughout the many crises they had to face. Also admire her parents for being so honest and open in their interviews with her. Im sure the partners and children of so many of our rural GPs will identify with the sentiments expressed in this book. A great read. ,
CHCH 037
We found the book very readable and interesting, and would recommend it.