Wednesday 10 April 2024

Can I speak to Josephine Please? by Sheila Brill Random Things Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for "Can I Speak To Josephine Please?" by Sheila Brill, for my stop please enjoy my non spoiler review, this is a RandomThingsTour.

About the author:

Since leaving the teaching profession in 1992, Sheila has worked as a Managing Editor, a tutor for foster carers and written for and edited a magazine for families, carers and teachers of children and young people with complex needs. She is a Public Involvement Partner, working as a Co-teacher at the University of the West of England, and an interviewer for paediatric nursing candidates. Originally from Glasgow, Sheila lived in London before moving to Bristol, where she now lives with her husband and son. Since completing her memoir, she has written and broadcast flash fiction.

You can buy your copy now available in kindle, audio and paperback from Amazon UK.

Can I speak to Josephine please?Can I speak to Josephine please? by Sheila Hilary Brill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 2 days

Pages - 356

Publisher - Resilient Books

Source - Review Copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Theirs was an unlikely life together. Sheila gave birth to Josephine on 11th May 1993 and for twenty-three years they co-existed in a loving mother-daughter relationship, but one with a difference. Josephine suffered catastrophic brain injury at birth, never spoke to Sheila, rarely smiled and was barely able to see the faces of the people who loved her. Without a how-to guide, people around Josephine strove to make her life better through years of multiple medical procedures, tortuous therapies and uncomfortable equipment. But this isn't a misery memoir; it's the story of a person who touched the lives of so many people - a bright and beautiful young lady who could 'work the room'. despite her enormous limitations. She brought out the best in people. Expect to cry, expect to laugh, but don't expect to be indifferent to this story.

My Review

Buckle up guys we have a bit of an emotive road ahead of us. Meet Sheila, Josephine's mum we learn about the family - Sheila getting pregnant and being cared for by her Father in Laws colleagues, best of care. However when Sheila goes in to labour, the senior doc who was going to over see the labour and birth ends up not being there. A catalogue of mistakes, missed opportunities and downplaying leaves Sheila's new born baby with a catastrophic brain injury. We follow the family in the days/weeks/years after the wean is born. They are told to prepare for the worse (after the birth) as wee Josephine is very poorly and could die anytime.

It makes for really hard reading, Sheila is brutally honest about everything, her fears, what she seen and experienced, the difficulties facing not just being a new mum but one to a child with such profound and specialised needs. Add into that the fight for accountability and proving that everything that was done or lack of actions caused Josephine to have the difficulties she had.

It sounds very doom and gloom and don't get me wrong some of it is harrowing and heart breaking to read. However there is so much positivity to the book and the absolute specialness that Josephine had and overcame despite pretty much all the odds being against her.

It is a very raw at times read, dark, inspiring, uplifting, heroic and even gasp inducing moments. I think also if you have never had a child or loved one with additional needs, reading this book will offer a huge insight into it, how you can be mindful and actually help someone who has a loved one with these needs. I could actually hug Sheila after reading this! It seems Josephine was a very special young lady who touched the lives of those she came to know and love. Not for the faint hearted but I would absolutely recommend it to just about anyone, 4.5/5, I think this will stay with you long after you have finished the last page. I am very interesting in seeing the documentary film type they made and have contacted the author about where to view it!

View all my reviews


  1. Thanks for the blog tour support x

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. This would be beneficial for most people.


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