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Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person: A Memoir in Comics Paperback – April 25, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
Engelberg talks about the changes that came into her life when she was diagnosed with cancer, and recalls with humor and gentle intelligence the experiences and feelings involved in getting diagnosed with cancer, going through the treatment, and living through the experience. She manages to turn most of her experiences, even the incredibly scary and painful ones, into bittersweet, touching humor, which makes this a valuable resource for those who have cancer. This book is like hanging out with a witty and smart girlfriend, and I think a woman with cancer would really enjoy feeling like she wasn't alone in the experience.
It was a bit hard for me to read in places, because I don't have cancer and so haven't really had to face some of the difficult realities that she discusses. But I wanted to read it to understand a bit of what my friend's Mom is going through in her struggle with cancer, so even though it was painful in places, I thought it was a really valuable read.
11/06 - Just wanted to edit my review to say "rest in peace" to our dear author friend. After reading her book I felt like she became sort of a friend to me, and when I heard that she passed away last month I felt deeply saddened.Read more ›
I thought that some of the pertinent things covered in the book are:
- blaming yourself for having eaten the wrong things or having lived the wrong lifestyle - eating all that cheese, or greasy junk food full of preservatives, or drinking all that diet soda, or talking too much on the cell phone.
- how people with different forms of cancer sometimes have trouble relating to each other and how people with the same forms of cancer tend to form cliques for this reason.
- the notion of being a cancer survivor: when does it begin (upon diagnosis?) and when does it end (are you still a survivor in your deathbed, drawing your last few gasps of air?)
If you have recently been diagnosed with cancer, or are fighting it, or know someone near and dear who is going through it - READ THIS BOOK. Add it to the list of how-to's and serious medical books. It will help you understand how the human psyche responds to this form of crisis just a little better.
By means of primitive cartoons and unflagging gentle humor, the author leads the reader through an array of experiences with family, friends, and therapists as she is affected by her diagnosis, treatment, relapse, and chemotherapy for breast cancer. She is a master of distillation, compressing life situations, philosophy, and religion into a handful of panels per page. How could any of this be funny? That's Engelberg's genius, her delightfully twisted perspective, honed by intelligence and sensitivity. Cancer Made me a Shallower Person is a must read for anyone who cares to understand the feelings of a cancer patient, be they be friend, physician, or family member.
But this is pretty morbid humor. Handle with caution. I loved some of the visual jokes; and the less punch-you-in-the-gut satire really cracked me up. But I read it in the middle of chemo, myself, and the more pungently morose satire threw me into a doom and gloom that didn't help my situation. After I'm done with my treatments, and hopefully I'll really been done at that point (I fall into Engelberg's "no, I'm okay, really" non-metastatic part of the cancer world), I will then be able to laugh at the more painfully funny parts of the book. Engelberg, herself part of the "gone metastatic - damn!" part of the cancer world, takes on the sometimes pollyannaish culture of denial. I find a little denial goes a long way, so I will cling to my "damn cheerfulness" until I can't hold on any longer. Truthfully, I find there are some very beautiful side effects of this ghastly disease - namely, the incredible outpourings of love and support from friends and family, and the piercing appreciation of life when I feel good.
In short, Engelberg's comic memoir is bitingly funny but borders on the bitter - it is a pill that is best swallowed when you are out of the woods, yourself.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For those of us with cancer, this is an engaging book that debunks the notion that the superior way to deal with cancer is to become, say, a tour de France champion or a marathon... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Bill Curry
i bought this book for a class and for the price it was amazing and i got the book in a short amount of timePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I could not put this down when I first discovered it in a book store. It was so on-target, real ,and honest.Published 3 months ago by Tyne Traverson
The book was delivered in a timely manner. The person the book was given loves it! I even read a few pages of it. Great book and delivery.Published 9 months ago by Anna
Truth and humor. I laughed out loud and have shared it with friends. Highly recommended. But not everyone will appreciate it. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Janet
Loved the honesty of this humorous, though sometimes bleak, memoir. Clearly, the author had a really terrible time since the point of diagnosis, but in a strange way it's a... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Rabid Reader