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February Light: A Love Letter to the Seasons During a Year of Cancer and Recovery

4.8 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0595301027
ISBN-10: 0595301029
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Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

One woman's tender yet sober reflections on her victory over ovarian cancer highlight the parallels between life cycles and the seasons. Ever since her childhood, Remoff has sensed within herself a ``wild inner union with the natural world.'' Years later, this connection is rekindled when the author takes up permanent residence with her second husband in the tiny and exclusive resort village of Osprey Lakes in the Pennsylvania hills. The move sadly coincides with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Remoff gathers these experiences into a month-by-month chronicle of her disease and recovery, intricately woven reflections on the seasons, illness, death, and life in a small place. She celebrates the joys of simply being alive amid such natural beauty. A former competitive runner, Remoff perseveres through surgery and chemotherapy by dint of sheer stubbornness and competitive instinct (``Let the games begin. I'll do whatever it takes to beat this bastard cancer''). In addition, her love of family and friends and the companionship of her dog see her through emotionally trying times. Regular doses of running, herbal teas, despair, and hope shape her days. February Light's appeal lies in Remoff's honesty in describing and sharing the details of her disease, treatments, and emotions: She relates everything from dealing with doctors and medical staff to questioning prescribed treatment and following her own herbal remedies. A small part of the text is comprised of brief memoir sketches that seem unduly self-conscious in providing details that the reader intuits from the subtler writing of the present. Remoff's treatment of Osprey Lakes' local color and characters also lack the power of her ruminations on disease and nature. Of interest to cancer sufferers, their families and friends, and those open to the often tough-minded ``insights that have been cancer's gift.'' -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

At age fifty-four, Heather Trexler Remoff was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. February Light, beautifully crafted, evocative yet spare, joyous and truthful, is Heather's very personal memoir of her fight with the disease - and her triumph. February Light is part medical diary, for Heather describes openly the stages of her disease and her struggle to confront them; part nature journal, for the book is written month by month and examines parallels between what is happening in Heather's body and the outdoors; and part chronicle of the richness of small-town life recollected in glimpses of Heather's childhood as well as life in Osprey Lakes.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 178 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (December 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595301029
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595301027
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,152,596 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In this brief book, Heather Remoff shows herself to be a funny, gutsy, caring and sensitive woman. She also turns out to be one tough cookie. This memoir of her new life in a remote Pennsylvania village, and of the cancer that nearly ended that life, is well worth reading just for the skill of her writing. But even more, it is a fascinating self-portrait of a whole person, fully engaged in the serious and crazily unpredictable business of life.
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Format: Hardcover
What a beautiful book! I was less than half way through when I started thinking of friends to whom I would recommend it. It not only gives hope and inspiration to others facing dreaded diseases, but would remind any reader of the joy of being alive and appreciating the beauty of nature, and the importance of family and friends, in coping with life's difficult moments. While she describes with honesty the frustrations of dealing with those in the medical profession, she nevertheless is generous with her praise and understanding of their difficult choices in their efforts to help her combat this elusive disease. Far from being depressing, you find yourself laughing with her, crying with her , and rejoicing with her as she shares her love of life in her beloved Osprey Lakes which seems daily to nourish her soul. Her vivid descriptions transport you in a way that you actually feel you are there sharing it with her. It's a feel good book and I believe anyone would be enriched from reading it. I enjoyed it even more on the second reading, and have received many expressions of appreciation from those with whom I've shared it.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a marvelous memoir, offering much more than an account of a struggle with a serious illness. It is a joyful affirmation of life and mortality. I was mesmerized by the deft way in which Heather Remoff interweaves her observations about her natural surroundings and her inner physical struggle. Her ruminations are infused with wit and candor, giving her book a delightful readability. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone, not just those touched by cancer. It has much to offer those who have ever thought about their mortality, and maybe even more to those who haven't. I know that I will come back to this volume and its gifts again and again.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this wonderfully written and deeply felt book a few years ago, after my mother succumbed to biliary cancer and long before I triumphed over my own cancer (prostate). During my year of cancer and recovery, I often thought of Remoff's book -- a gem that created a resonance I still feel today -- of her resilience and love of life. Familiar with the setting, Eagle's Mere (a quaint, old Victorian village set atop a picturesque mountain, frequented by folks of means throughout much of the 20th century), I'd say she had ample opportunity to commune with the seasons. But the beauty of her love letter lies in its human light. We see an engaging, luminous spirit that will not yield to the dark, nefarious work of cancer, a woman deeply connected to family, friends and community. Her dog Chuckles, her running, her ruminations, her alternative healthcare approaches, her strong yet sensitive husband -- all give her reason to live. This book should be mandatory reading for anyone whose life has been affected by cancer. This book is life, fully lived, soulfully rendered, teeming with laughter and foolishness amid the fear and pain of facing one's inescapable mortality.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book, not just for anyone who is struggling with a serious illness (although it is perfect for this), but also for anyone who appreciates a well-written description of the joys of life in a small lakeside community.
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Format: Hardcover
My wife and I have bought at least 2 dozen copies to give to children and friends. Heather Remoff describes her determined and courageous journey through the "valley of the shadow of death." Only someone with her spiritual connections and poetic insights could take us inside and share the love, perceptions and affirmation of life that she found on her journey. You will laugh and you will cry, and it all is true. A "must read."
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Format: Hardcover
Native American author N. Scott Momaday wrote, "Once in his life a man ought to concentrate his mind upon the remembered earth...." Coupling the keen eye for detail of the naturalist with the lyricism of the poet, February Light soars as Remoff does so lovingly what he suggests. Osprey Lake could well be Walden Pond as Remoff, like Thoreau, "...front(s) only the essential facts of life" and allows the beauty and wonder of this tiny town, forgotten in time and isolated in the mountains of the northern tier of Pennsylvania, to help heal her body and to focus her soul. Her story goes well beyond the fortitude and courage we expect from autobiographies by those who will share the watershed moments of their lives with readers; rather, it becomes a glorious affirmation of life, friendship, family, and the lessons of the earth. A Navaho prayer asks, "In beauty may I walk." Remoff allows us to join her as she does just that. The dawning of a cold February morning will never be experienced in quite the same way again.
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