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Synopsis

This book is a love story, a political memoir, a parallel journey into and through grief and loss. It goes inside Cabinet and inside the heart. It wonders why we don't make enough room in our lives for death. A Minister and a mother loses her mate, almost loses her mind. Mary Delahunty is a celebrity journalist elected to Parliament, sparkling in the breathless publicity of an ALP 'Star recruit'. In under a year the party wins the election Jeff Kennett couldn't lose and she is thrust, with her startled new colleagues, into Government. Dubbed a team 'on training wheels' the Bracks' government sets about restoring services to a Victoria brittle with anger. MD becomes Minister for Education and the Arts. The fairy dust fades though when her soul mate, husband and father of their two children is struck down with a rampant cancer. This is a meditation on how a public figure copes, or fails to cope with private grief, during the long dying and the unending absence. It explores our society's deep disdain for death and sickness and how the gladiatorial dark arts of politics don't pause for anyone. Mary Delahunty is honest and entertaining about her mistakes, her political unravelling, her 'sacking' and the understanding of a new shape of life after 'the bear pit'. This is a compelling read as a charmed life comes spectacularly undone in public.

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