The Full Catastrophe

The Full Catastrophe

Tracey Leonard
HiddenSpring, $27.95

The Full Catastrophe is an amazing autobiography and the type of book that would be enjoyed by all sorts of people. It is fun because the author was having enormous fun — well, most of the time — as she sought adventure after adventure.

Tracey, then 20, after completing her nursing training worked as a volunteer nurse at Mother Teresa’s home for the destitute and dying in Calcutta. She found life in India frustrating, exciting, confronting, very dirty, full of interesting people and often unintentionally funny.

She writes well with a deft wit.

“Most medical and governmental establishments have had dealings with Mother in the past and her reputation for dogged persistence and a take-no-prisoners attitude reduces even the most feared bureaucratic despot to a quivering mess.”

At 24, Tracey seeks further adventure in her own country by working as a nurse in an Aboriginal community in Port Keats in the Northern Territory. She also finds this a place of challenges and irony and writes about encouraging people to eat nutritious food in a town where fresh produce is too expensive for most people to buy and of rejecting bribes of a can of beer to swing the results of the town’s healthiest babies competition.

The Full Catastrophe is a wonderful book. I recommend it to everybody.

By Katy Gerner


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