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9 Oct 2:30am

Labours of Love by Madeleine Bunting review – a humbling book about care

The Guardian
Care, paid and unpaid, is at the heart of society, now more than ever ... this is a moving and absorbing in-depth investigation During my chemotherapy I would swathe my bald head in a scarf and totter, slightly queasy, to the shops. White vans juddered to a halt to let me cross the roads; the beleaguered assistant in the Co-op came out from behind the till to help me pack. I was being cared for by innumerable people during those months; the kindness of strangers would often overwhelm me. What “care” means is a vast subject. It happens everywhere. In the daily maintenance of life in homes and families and in public institutions or social organisations imbued with their own histories and traditions. It is at once deeply intimate and profoundly cultural. Paid or unpaid, the quality of care in our lives is nothing less than sociality itself: it is an index of how we survive as a society and a species. It tells us the value we place on human life.
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