Patient 1

Patient 1

Forgetting and Finding Myself

Summary

* Shortlisted for the RSL Christopher Bland Prize *

Honest, intelligent and unsentimental, Patient 1 is a startling self-portrait written with wit and vulnerability, and a unique testament to the power of hope in the face of illness.

Charlotte Raven had never heard of Huntington's Disease when, in her mid-thirties, she discovered that her father was suffering from the illness. Life for her and her young family would never be the same again.

Patient 1 is her brutally candid account of coming to terms with this inherited neurodegenerative disease, which can manifest at any time in life for people who carry the faulty gene. As the illness began to take hold of Raven's body, mind and memory, she began to write. She wrote like her life depended on it - and in many ways she believed it did. Frank and fearless, Patient 1 is an act of self-preservation and a kind of reckoning: with the illness, with the person she once was, with the person she is now.

In an afterword, Raven's doctor Ed Wild - one of the country's leading experts in Huntington's - explains how doctors and patients like Charlotte are working together in the hope of one day eliminating this disease altogether.

Reviews

  • Insightful, frank and often moving... Though there is an underlying note of deep sadness, more often she writes with humour, a dose of self mockery and no small amount of courage.
    Stephanie Merritt, Observer

About the authors

Charlotte Raven

Charlotte Raven was a journalist in the 1990s and her columns and articles have appeared frequently in the Guardian and New Statesman. She was a contributor to the Modern Review, and editor of the relaunched version in 1997. She lives in London.
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Edward Wild

Professor Edward Wild is Professor of Neurology at University College London, a Consultant Neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London's Queen Square, and Associate Director of UCL Huntington's Disease Centre.
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