Book Review: Beware of Falling Coconuts by Gillian McNeill

I don’t often read non-fiction but when a book like this comes your way, you just don’t pass it by.

Goodreads Blurb

Beware of Falling Coconuts by Gillian McNeill

“Give me a year of your life and I will give you your life.”

I can’t really remember the conversation that followed, I felt like a child sitting in the headmaster’s office. This was serious, this was actually happening. Why couldn’t I react? I was 49 years old. A wife, a mum, but cancer has no prejudice.

Despite the grueling treatment, I was inspired by the courage of others who showed me that there was humour to be found even in the most bizarre situations. From losing my hair to losing my memory, there was one clear message: I lost my boob, not my sense of humour.

Beware of Falling Coconuts Book Cover


I read this book in one sitting. Not just because it is a relatively short read but because it was so beautiful I didn’t want to stop. When I mention beautiful writing, it is likely that the first thing you thought of was poetic, imaginative prose. That’s not what makes Beware of Falling Coconuts beautiful. It is how Gillian deals with her diagnosis, as well as the loss of her mother and mother-in-law to cancer. It is how she is determined to pull through but still live her life as she undergoes treatment. It is how she is open and frank about her journey.

All of us are touched by cancer in one way or another throughout our lives. Yet, it is something that we feel uncomfortable talking about. I’m grateful to Gillian McNeill for writing this book because it showed us the value of being frank about this horrendous disease, while also being real about what it entails. There were times when reading Beware of Falling Coconuts when my chest tightened with anxiety – that’s a testament to how raw this book is.

But don’t be fooled into thinking this book is all doom and gloom. The title and cover alone should give you an idea of the level of humour involved. Struggling with cancer (or having someone in your life who is) doesn’t mean you can’t laugh anymore. I learned that this year. In fact, it is those instances where you laugh together about something ridiculous that create lasting memories. Gillian McNeill has a great sense of humour and that shows through so well in this book, showing that there can still be a happy side to life when cancer is involved.

If you liked The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes, you will love this real-life account of a cancer struggle – thankfully with a happier ending.

Beware of Falling Coconuts is available to buy now.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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