A Short Good Life: Her Father Tells Liza’s Story of Facing Death


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by Philip Lister

From the Publisher: It’s unusual to access a child’s mind during the magic years of childhood. It’s rarer when the child is facing her death. Liza, an ardent child with a deep love of cows and the color purple was diagnosed with leukemia at age four and died two years later in 1996. Liza was an unusually expressive child and her parents, both child psychiatrists, were uniquely oriented to appreciate the richness of a child’s mind. Through writing this book, Liza’s father strove to reveal the inner world of a child’s mind–and a parent’s mind–as few other books can. At its center, this is the story of a child’s psyche growing and striving to understand all she could of her experience, and of a small family coping with life’s biggest challenges. It is a story of love’s power to help a family cope and endure despite loss, and to grow, through darkness, back toward a full embrace of life. Through the process, the family emerges transformed, awed by the capacities of this child.

Praise for the Book: “The strength of the heartbreaking memoir rests with the author’s ability to capture, through narration and daily dialogue, the inner turmoil and resilience of each family member (including Liza’s older sister, Molly), as they struggled together through the frustrations, anger, doubts, love, hopes, and fears during this painful ordeal… An emotionally honest, informative, and beautifully composed cancer account; a solid addition to the genre.” –  Kirkus Reviews

About the Author: Philip Lister is an adult and child psychiatrist in private practice in New York City. He is affiliated with Weill Cornell, Columbia, and Mount Sinai medical centers and teaches the art of psychotherapy with children and adolescents. In recent years he has worked as a therapist in the Phase 3 research study treating PTSD with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. For more about the book see the author’s website,

ISBN: 1476685576    –    EAN: 9781476685571

Additional information

Weight 15 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × 1 in