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Biography & Autobiography Personal Memoirs

The Bright Side

Twelve Months, Three Heartbreaks, and One (Maybe) Miracle

by (author) Cathrin Bradbury

Penguin Group Canada
Initial publish date
Mar 2021
Personal Memoirs, Aging, Women
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2021
    List Price

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“Anyone who has had their life completely gutted and rewired will adore this family story. Bradbury's dark humour and gloriously upbeat voice makes it the perfect antidote to a tough year. I loved it!”
—Plum Johnson, author of They Left Us Everything
The hilarious and moving story of how a modern woman's life can change utterly in a single year—and how, even when life whacks you in the head, you can find yourself rewarded with grace.

Cathrin Bradbury's life imploded in the space of a few months. Her beloved parents died, her marriage limped to an end after twenty-five years, her heavily mortgaged house turned against her, and a promising new romance ended in crushing disappointment.
But somewhere in that year, a new path, or three or four, began to open up. As Bradbury navigates the setbacks, her troubled brother makes an astounding recovery to health and sobriety. She is reunited with her closest childhood friend after a long absence, with deeply satisfying results. She and her four siblings feel their way to becoming a new kind of family without their parents. And her adult children emerge into sharper focus, each gloriously and uniquely themselves. Slowly, she discovers that the path is steep, the view obscured, but there's light ahead.
Cathartic, hilarious, and profoundly moving, The Bright Side broadens the way we think and talk to each other about the ordinary experiences we all share. A master of the uncomplaining voice, Bradbury combines grace and humanity to look at the world unflinchingly and see what makes it wonderful and absurd at the same time, and to let us all in on the secret.

About the author

Contributor Notes

CATHRIN BRADBURY is a Senior News Director at CBC News. She has worked at The Globe and Mail, Metro News (Editor in Chief), and Maclean's magazine. As a leader and top editor of major news organizations and publications, she has launched and run half a dozen magazines, reconceived quality newspapers, and mentored and edited renowned Canadian journalists and authors as well as a new generation of young journalists. She lives in Toronto.

Editorial Reviews

“It is rare for a memoir to be very funny and unwaveringly honest. But Cathrin Bradbury’s The Bright Side is brilliantly both. You could (quite correctly) call The Bright Side charming—but only if you also point out that it is smart, beautifully written, and mercilessly clear-eyed on the subject of what time has in store for us all.”
—David Macfarlane, author of Likeness

“Anyone who has had their life completely gutted and rewired will adore this family story. Bradbury’s dark humour and gloriously upbeat voice makes it the perfect antidote to a tough year. I loved it!”
—Plum Johnson, author of They Left Us Everything
“In a spirit reminiscent of the great Nora Ephron, Cathrin Bradbury finds the funny in her own failings and the humour in heartbreak with her razor-sharp prose. The Bright Side reminds us when things get messy and painful, laughter is as important as light.” 
—Jessica Allen, The Social
“One of the miracles of this funny and poignant book is that Bradbury makes growing up along the Niagara Escarpment sound as enchanting as Paris. And in this era of fractured relationships, The Bright Side‘s magnificent depiction of her parents’ steady love for one another will touch hearts. The Irish-Catholic father, in particular, with his shined shoes and incessant cheerfulness, was wonderfully drawn. Not a wasted word—I loved it.” 
—Catherine Gildiner, author of Good Morning, Monster and Too Close to the Falls
“The year 2015 was not a good one for Cathrin Bradbury, a veteran journalist and senior news director at CBC. After divorcing her husband of 25 years, she was forced to navigate the loss of a new romance and the passing of both parents – all in one truly awful annus horribilis. The result is this warm, chatty memoir, which serves as both a meditation on family and friendship and a love letter to Toronto and its colourful media characters.”
The Globe and Mail

“A beautifully written and unabashed family memoir focusing on one bummer of a year. A book that can evoke both laughter and tears on the same page.”
—The Hamilton Spectator

“[A] memoir of longing and loss as well a lightness of being. . . . [The Bright Side’s] charm lies in its relatability, which is underscored by Bradbury’s wry voice, black humour and frank assessment of the world and her place in it.”
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