No Damage

An Adventure in Courage, Survival and the Pursuit of Dreams

Non-Fiction - Inspirational
220 Pages
Reviewed on 01/10/2017
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Author Biography

Kathryn is a freelance editor and writer, public speaker and co-founder of the marine conservation cause Friends for Sharks. In 2015, she organised and completed a 10-month global speaking tour in aid of shark conservation: 87 events, 8 countries, 7000 people. She is a trained scuba diving instructor and great white shark safari guide and has lived in the UK, Egypt and South Africa. She currently lives in Wairarapa, New Zealand.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

“‘Yes, I really am sure and yes it is, er, very pretty.’
'Are you sure now young lady? Hang on! Weren't you in here just the other day buying it? ... So, tell me. Go on! Why do you want to return it then darling?”
‘... Because yesterday my groom left me and he's not coming back.’”

No Damage: An Adventure in Courage, Survival and the Pursuit of Dreams by Kathryn Hodgson is a memoir “sans pareille,” a journey through loss and pain to freedom, captured within the spirit, and real healing. Kathryn is just in her thirties and has made many mistakes and suffered a lot of serious blows from life as well, including broken relationships, having to spend some time in a South African prison, and fighting cancer. These could make anyone lose heart and give in to pessimism, but not the heroine. In this slim memoir, she shares her journey toward hope and how her positive world-view allows her to create the kind of life she wants and pursue her deepest desires.

No Damage: An Adventure in Courage, Survival and the Pursuit of Dreams is a book that carries the powerful message that all is never lost, that in spite of our struggles, we have the power to transform our lives, to create, and to transcend our reality, especially when we learn to embrace life generously and to live in hope. The writing is beautiful and the author’s voice comes across gracefully and compellingly. I admire the audacity of this story and the sincerity with which it is told. Readers will hear their own fears and stories in Kathryn Hodgson's voice.

Anita Kovacevic

Autobiographies and memoirs have never really been my thing, and it would take something really special to draw me to them. No Damage had that.

It is not only special because it takes a positive outlook on the life of a woman in her thirties, a life not without its troubles and turmoil, but because of how openly and inobtrusively the author lays out the details of her life, take it or leave it, knowing and risking the fact that everyone who reads the book will know some of her most intimate decisions in life. Authors do draw inspiration from real life, but those who would openly share their own living moments and insecurities are rare. I am not saying whether it is good or bad, I am simply saying that it took a lot of guts to 'bare it all' in order to 'bear it all', so to speak. I absolutely understand the purging process writing out your misfortunes and fortunes can have, but to then publish it all is a venture that takes a very special person indeed.

The author shares with us moments we can all identify with - a serious illness in the family, odd relationships, questioning our career choices, adoring our pets, embarassing moments in which we were far from what we'd be proud of, sadness and grief, reinventing yourself in an effort to be who you dreamed you would be, and the eternal struggle to keep your head above water without clinging on to others for support. The style is even, developing funny moments reminiscent of Bridget Jones (the whole book is diary-like in a way), wonderful descriptive passages (my absolutely favourite part is the description of the drive to her parents' home, filled with loving memories), and utter sadness as her mother's cancer progresses. The failed relationships are described very openly, never laying blame on the partner, but learning to live with the facts, whatever they may be.

There were moments I could personally identify with, some I couldn't, but it didn't diminish the beauty of the author's honest storytelling. The upbeat, non-judgmental and non-preaching tone, as well as the uncompromising honesty throughout the narrative are really what makes this book unique.

N. Gosney

I've just finished reading this book, and wow my goodness what a book it is! At first I wasn't sure if it was autobiographical or pseudo-biographical. Reading the parts about her mother's illness made me feel it must surely be a true story, as there was so much raw emotion and attention to detail poured into those sections. I'm not ashamed to say I shed a few tears - my heart hurt for Kathryn and her family. Later though, her accounts of Oscar had me wondering again. Could anybody truly behave the way he did? It seemed almost too much to be true! I'm still reeling from those sections, and I'm incredibly amazed how Kathryn tolerated such behaviour for so long.

I feel as though I've looked into somebody's soul, almost as if I've intruded a little by doing so, and I can't help but have the greatest sense of being incredibly privileged to have read such a moving insight into a total stranger's life.

As for the book itself, it's very well written, articulate, and Kathryn has the wonderful ability of turning even mundane actions like walking dogs into such compelling reading that I didn't want to turn off my computer - I just wanted to keep reading and see what was going to happen next.

It's quite remarkable how much happened to this lady in such a short space of time. From utter despair, to complete triumph, and I can't tell you how glad I am that it all had a happy ending!

Wonderful book, definitely worth reading, I would recommend it to anyone.

Jackie Parry

Here’s a lady with enormous human spirit and a knack to laugh at herself.

Told with searing honesty, Kathryn takes you on a journey of love, loss, heartache, joy and redemption5. Her most intimate decisions are shared, discussed, analysed and carried out with equal measures of humour, sadness, fear and validation.

Although at times I felt a tiny bit uncomfortable with her self-justification for some of those decisions – I still couldn’t wait to settle down each evening to be carried along with her sentiments and emotions. I wanted to see which one of life’s challenges would knock her flat next – and how she’d stand up and slap it right back!

These ‘life-lessons’ are experienced by us all, but Kathryn makes it a fun ride that’s all wrapped in the chaos of two lunatic, adorable dogs.

If you are a similar age and you like an entertaining read on handling the lumps and bumps of life that is loaded with sentiment – this book is for you.

I would have loved to have more written dialogue between Kathryn and her dynamic friends, to really hear how they carried her through the difficult times – but that’s just a personal perspective and takes nothing away from a great read!


This is a great read. Not my usual type of book but compelling from the very start. It's really difficult to say what my favourite part is as there are so many good tales...getting arrested, bringing the piano home...and refreshening but honest relationships, the sorrow of family tragedy, even swimming lanes! I loved the writing style, how it captured the full range of emotions, the comedy and the drama, the massive highs and lows yet remained philosophical and positive about life. I laughed and I cried. And now I can't wait for her second book.

Gemma C

I absolutely LOVED this book, it made me laugh out loud, cry like a baby and make me want to just jump up and grab life by the you-know-whats. Absolutely fantastic.


I didn't really have high expectations from this book as it's not the sort I would ordinarily read. However, from the first chapter I was hooked. I felt pity, love, excitement, fear and at times frustration towards the character and could hardly believe the tale was true. A totally inspiring story which I could in part relate to having experienced some similar events in my life. It is well paced and well written with a good balance of seriousness, sadness and humour.

I look forward to reading the next book about her next 30 years as I'm sure they will be just as eventful but hopefully more positive as she really deserves some good luck in her life. Well done Kathryn, you have inspired me and I am now beginning my life adventure fully motivated. I believe these things really do happen for a reason!!!

Mrs A U Wilson

I read this in 24 hours flat, I wanted to find out what happened next in Kathryn's life. I confess I sat on the beach, on my honeymoon, with tears pouring down my face at two parts (I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it) and then laughing a lot at various mishaps. Bottom line is - this is a lovely read, very well written and full of inspiration.

Mrs J M Arrowsmith

I really enjoyed this book, Kat is a wonderful proponent for positive thinking. I found her attitude towards the challenges she has faced - as well as her determination to achieve her dreams - very inspiring and uplifting. I would recommend this book to anybody looking for a great read which is both funny and very moving.

Lisa Smith

Wow.... what can I say!! A truly enjoyable read with some real ups and downs! Had me laughing one minute and blubbering the next! Amazing how someone can turn their life around with nothing more than sheer determination! Kathryn hodgson you are one fabulous lady!!


Once I started reading No Damage I struggled to put the book down, I was so keen to find out what was going to happen next! It made me laugh, cry and want to scream at Kathryn - read the book to find out why, I'm sure you'll feel the same. Incredibly well written, can fully recommend this book.


Very easy to read, incredibly honest memoir of a 30 year old woman in the United Kingdom. I laughed. I cried. An emotional roller coaster I didn't expect. Kathryn shows us all what it takes to let go of your fears in order to live your dreams.

Robin Pritchard

I am a die hard science fiction reader, but I was lucky enough to get to know Kathryn a little during her time in Egypt, so I was curious to read this book. Expecting to be bored quickly, I was proved wrong! She writes with authority and real honesty, allowing her compassion and humour to shine through. Her story is by turns painful and hilarious, and left me in the end both uplifted and inspired. So despite being an awfully long way from my usual fare, I would strongly recommend this book to anyone with a heart and a brain, particularly if you are having a tough time making sense of life. It might just encourage you to get out and something about making youself happy!

Michelle Cowsill

No Damage is a beautifully written book, truly inspirational! Tinged with sadness. Yet, I love the positivity mixed with wonderful humour. This is the book to inspire you or if you know others going through tough times and feel the need to be uplifted in a beautiful and graceful way!

Vicky Swann

I have just finished reading No Damage and I can honestly say that I have never been so moved by a book before. It is so beautifully written and Kathryn has clearly put her heart and soul into it. It makes you feel like you are on an emotional journey with her, crying at the saddest parts, laughing out loud at the hilarious parts and by the end feeling absolutely inspired and motivated! I would love to see this story made into a film!

H Smith

So you know how it is when you finish a really good book you feel a bit bereft at the loss of the characters and the story you've become engrossed in....this is how I felt on finishing "No Damage". I must admit I cried A LOT during the book, and it takes a special kind of writer to reduce me to tears! Happily there were many laugh out loud moments as well.....particularly the one in the pub and a few too many glasses of wine....I shall say no more! This really is a great first novel and I would highly recommend it.