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Brought to you by Penguin.

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.

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 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021

Critics Review

  • 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.

  • [An] unsparing memoir… but Raven does much more than write an illness memoir… Raven explains in her introduction that Huntington’s is not a linear disease but is experienced rather as a series of traumatic random-seeming assaults… it is that formless inevitability…that Raven enacts so powerfully here.

  • A phenomenal achievement… [it] chronicles her journey into her illness in a way that is truthful, traumatic and brave.

    The Times
  • Brutally candid… [a] devastating but remarkable testament of self-preservation.

    The Bookseller, Editor's Choice
  • Charlotte Raven’s Patient 1 is brilliant, terrifying, heart-breaking and laceratingly honest. She has the unflinching, unsentimental clarity of Rachel Cusk and the tender humour of John Bayley – but her style is utterly unique.

    Peter Bradshaw

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