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Between Me and the River Hardcover – August 1, 2009

48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

On Halloween in 2003, Host was given terrifying news: she had carcinoid tumor, a rare and deadly form of cancer . The wife and mother of three children (then ages 10 months, 11 and 13), who is now in remission, was given a prognosis of 18 to 36 months. In this heartfelt narrative, Host attempts to simultaneously fight the disease and find peace with the possibility of death while remaining strong and hopeful. The author describes the moments of comfort and joy she receives from those around her, but she doesn't flinch from the realities of life-threatening illness. Regarding one particularly harrowing hospital stay, she recalls, I thought I had already earned my doctorate in pain, but it turns out I was wrong. She finds humor among the indignities cancer patients must endure, writing, for example, I should have known that, as a mother of three, the only possible way to get 12 uninterrupted hours of sleep would be surgery. Host's honest depiction of her personal experiences also captures the universal aspects of cancer. In one of the book's entries, dated nearly two years after her initial diagnosis, Host recounts a conversation with a stranger, a fellow train passenger: We have that instant connection that you make with someone who has suffered the loss that cancer can bring. (Aug.)
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From Booklist

Lover of language and keen observer of life, 40-year-old Host hears the oncologist reading from her file and thinks, “You have stepped onto the platform and are heading toward the train you are about to board. You hear the ticking of your watch, even though it’s digital.” Instead of going on an eagerly anticipated family vacation, she has entered a nightmare. Her surgeon says hers is “the most extreme case of carcinoid tumor” he’s ever seen, and she dreads telling her teen children. Yet she finds that her widely metastasized cancer’s detection marks “the beginning of all kinds of angels showing up.” Two years after multiple tests, surgeries, and traditional and alternative treatments, she is declared “clear,” thanks to loving support, spirituality, and modern medicine, only to learn a year later that she has ovarian tumors. Determined that she’ll see her youngest’s fourth birthday, she does—and more, now perceiving her life as “a generous allowance from nature” in this comforting, informative, and seamlessly woven tale of hope. --Whitney Scott

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin; 1 edition (August 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373892144
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373892143
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,071,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By RamonaFez on July 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I am an oncology nurse and this is simply the best book about surviving, coping and recovering from cancer that I have ever read.

This book is so beautifully written and so amazingly accurate and insightful. I wept throughout the whole thing. It covers so many of the emotions that my patients have expressed to me over the years, and it is exactly how I know I would feel if I were in the author's shoes. It is outstanding.

I have read so many cancer books with the hope of finding the perfect book to give to my patients, but always find them lacking something. This book is perfect. I loved the "summary" of the lesson learned at the end of most of the chapters. I have read excerpts from this book to two of my support groups this week to promote discussion and it has already touched the cancer survivors in those groups.

I can only imagine the impact that this book will not only have on cancer survivors and their families, but also on oncology nurses and doctors who read it. This is a must read for any oncology nurse who truly wants to empathize with his/her patients, and all medical students need to be forced to read it to remind them of the emotional toll the cancer journey takes on someone, and to remind them that they are dealing with human beings and not just a cancer "diagnosis".

This book truly touched me. The part where she describes looking in on her children while they slept before she heads to The Mayo Clinic, not knowing if she would see them again, made me sob. The way she wrote about her baby, her amazing husband, sisters...unbelievably beautiful and loving. The part about her mother wishing she could take her daughter's cancer from her and the whole mother daughter bond....heart wrenching.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amy Y. TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is the memoir of Carrie Host- daughter, wife, mother and friend who is given a devastating diagnosis. The writing is both brutal and lovely as she documents her journey through a life-threatening illness.

Host does a beautiful job of capturing the various psychological states as she experiences each setback, each triumph. This is a very honest book and the intimacy of knowing the author's doubt and fears was very compelling.

This is a book where, for me, the intensity of it made me want to read more but was also a bit emotionally draining- for example, it was difficult for me not to think about what I would tell my own girls if I was in her position and contemplating death and not being able to see my children grow up...

I think the up-close-and-personal first person narration will be powerful for those who can relate to the author, her illness, her family, etc.. The reader who doesn't identify with the author may not find this to be as meaningful to read. This isn't a book you pick up for recreational reading. May be inspiring for those dealing with cancer- I think one could say that this isn't a memoir of someone dying from cancer, more like someone learning to live with and beyond cancer.

Overall, a moving story of one woman's struggle but def. not for everyone- may be particularly difficult for someone who is still treading water, waiting to see if they're going to win or if the cancer will.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on March 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
You will find that her thoughts and expressions throughout her battle with cancer will take you back to your loved ones that have gone to battle against this disease. I found myself thinking and asking myself "my loved ones who died from cancer never expressed how they truely felt throughout there illness with cancer". She expresses herself in such a way that she has you crying and truely feeling what she feels. It makes you totally understand what a cancer patient goes through, not just chemo or radiation and it outwards effects on one that we all can see. She expresses her iner feelings and speaks of them outwardly which embraces the reader. Especially, when she speaks of her children. She wants to raise them, not watch someone else take care of them and give them love, the love that she wants to give and can't. As she reaches what looks like the end of this journey, she still corageously fights back. Her ongoing battle and the fight within her to live is amazing. The quanities of sea plankton that she consumed I believe saved her. This book should be read by all; especially nurses, caregivers, etc. I was really touched by her feelings and the way she espressed how she felt throughtout her battle with cancer that I can honestly say, I now know the inner feelings of one trying to stay alive. As you read this book you tend to say My God, "that's how my personal loved ones lived and kept there inner feelings a secret. Their emotions and thoughts in a trapped body, until the end, for some. I am happy to say this story has a happy ending. This book I will read more than once. The connection that she makes with the reader will stay with you far after you read this book. It will remain in your heart, forever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By H. Grove (errantdreams) TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
What makes Between Me and the River both amazing and incredibly difficult to read is the manner in which Carrie takes us along on all the intimate steps of her journey. She shows us her strength and stubbornness, but she also shows us the times when she whines, feels sorry for herself, and wants to give up. She dwells equally on the moments of hope and the moments of despair. Most amazingly of all, whether you're a cancer patient yourself who wants to understand better what you're going through (and realize you're not alone), or you want to be able to understand those with cancer a bit better, you'll find she deftly places you in her shoes throughout all the highs and lows.

Carrie, in addition to being in the position to tell us all about the aspects of cancer we might not think of or be aware of (from the effects of treatment, to the effects of the disease on friendships and family), is also a lovely writer. She has a poet's sensibility and a lyrical style. Even the second time that I go back to read through some of the details of her reaction to her diagnosis, I start to cry.

If you know someone who has cancer--and the odds are high that sometime during your lifetime you will--you owe it to both them and yourself to read this book, and get a spare copy for them. It's a beautiful way to help you both understand and cope with what's happening, and maybe it'll give you a common ground from which to discuss such a difficult subject.

[note: review copy provided by publicist]
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