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Biography & Autobiography Personal Memoirs

Still, I Cannot Save You

A Memoir of Sisterhood, Love, and Letting Go

by (author) Kelly S. Thompson

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Feb 2023
Personal Memoirs, Dysfunctional Families, Women
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2023
    List Price

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Shortlisted for the 2024 Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award
Nominated for the Inaugural Reader's Choice Award
With honesty, love, and humour, in this moving memoir, Kelly S. Thompson explores her relationship with her older sister, Meghan. Tested by addiction, abuse, and illness, the sisters’ relationship crumbles, only to be rebuilt into an everlasting bond.

Kelly Thompson and her older sister, Meghan, are proof that sisterhood doesn’t always equate to friendship.
Growing up within a military family, the girls were close despite being temperamental opposites—Kelly, anxious and studious, looked to her big sister for comfort, and Meghan, who battled kidney cancer as a toddler, was gregarious and protective. But as she approached adulthood, Meghan spi­ralled into a cocaine and opioid addiction, and Kelly’s relationship with her sister was torn apart.
Their paths diverge as they live their own lives, and it is only when Meghan becomes a mother that she and Kelly tentatively face past hurts and reexamine what sisterhood really means. But their reunion is threatened when Meghan receives a shocking new diagnosis on a day that should be one for celebration. Now, as the family reels at the prospect of the biggest loss imaginable, Kelly and Meghan must share all that they can in the time that they have, using their mutual sense of humour to chart a course through the darkest of days.
At once funny and heartbreaking, Still, I Cannot Save You is a story about addiction, abuse, and tragedy, but above all, it is a powerful portrait of an enduring love between sisters.

About the author


  • Short-listed, Evelyn Richardson Non-fiction Award

Contributor Notes

Kelly S. Thompson is a retired military officer who holds an MFA and a Ph.D. in Creative Writing, and has been published in Chatelaine, Maclean’s, the Globe and Mail, and more. Her debut memoir, Girls Need Not Apply, was named a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book and was an instant bestseller. She works as a mentor for the University of King’s College MFA in Creative Nonfiction, and lives in Nova Scotia with her military spouse and bull terrier.

Editorial Reviews

Shortlisted for the 2024 Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award
Nominated for the Inaugural Reader's Choice Award

“With this heartwrenching yet hopeful book, Kelly has turned her loss and grief into something beautiful.”
—Rachel Matlow, author of Dead Mom Walking

“Told with candor and unflinching humor, Still, I Cannot Save You is a compelling portrait of a complicated sisterly love. Thompson is a master storyteller who asks readers to examine their turbulent relationships with troubled family members and the incredible bonds that hold us together. Her beautiful and affecting prose will leave you with a terrible ache in your chest. It will shatter your heart and then mend it together with tenderness and finely-wrought insight. I sobbed, laughed, and cheered for Thompson and her sister. Heroic and unforgettable.”
—Lindsay Wong, The Woo-Woo and Tell Me Pleasant Things about Immortality

“With unadorned language and a keen eye for the details of everyday life, Kelly S. Thompson triangulates the position between love, anger, and helplessness.”
—David Macfarlane, author of Likeness

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