Book: Say That Again by Jane M. Cullen
Reviewed by: Kate Kelsall
Photo of Jane M. Cullen
The book, Say That Again, caught my attention. The book’s author, Jane M. Cullen, tells a fiction story set in London about a 62 year old man, Benedict Marshall, a prominent playwright, who experiences two events in one week that change his life dramatically: being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and meeting a much younger woman, who is struggling to make a living in her chosen career of acting.
Early in their relationship, she makes the decision to call him “Mr. Marshall,” and decides that she should be called “Nell.” Initially, they keep their distance and are cautious.
Nell’s role in their relationship seems to be that of a cheerleader, encouraging Mr. Marshall to be all that he can be. For example, she encourages him to learn dancing to combat PD, but he is reluctant and self-conscious. They share their anxieties and worries with each other, as well as have a lot of laughter, playfulness and fun together.
Personally, I am very knowledgeable about PD after living with it for 21 years. Although the author does not have PD herself, her knowledge and understanding of PD is impressive.The general public sees PD primarily in terms of the tremor being the main symptom. Cullen has been able to incorporate some of PD’s non-motor symptoms (depression, anxiety, fatigue, drooling, lack of facial expression, cognitive problems, speech and voice problems) into Mr. Marshall’s character. In this way, she increases awareness about PD in her readers.
Although the subject of PD is a serious one, there are some very funny moments in the book where I laughed and touching moments when I cried. The person with PD is multi-faceted, and there is more to the person than only PD.
I am appreciative that Cullen describes the realities of living with PD with a sense of hope and inspiration.
For more information about Jane M. Cullen and her book, "Say That Again" check out the following: