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Why I Wore Lipstick: To My Mastectomy Paperback – September 15, 2005

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Why I Wore Lipstick: To My Mastectomy + Then Came Life: Living with Courage, Spirit, and Gratitude After Breast Cancer
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lucas was 27, happily working as a 20/20 producer, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Suddenly, her world became a blur of appointments with surgeons and emotional breakdowns. Her book's catchy title belies its substantial content: this is an honest, perceptive memoir from a feisty survivor who's willing to discuss every detail, like getting sick in cabs during chemo treatments, baldness and sex. In fact, the book opens with Lucas, who's now 36, recounting her visit to a New York topless bar as she agonizes over losing a breast and contemplates reconstructive surgery. Lucas doesn't dismiss her fears; she talks about wanting to have a child and how her husband withdraws when so many other people step in to provide her with emotional support. What makes her memoir so moving is the author's breezy style and her focus on the daily details of her illness ("I am in the shower, and when I start lathering my comb-over, most of it stays in my hands. The big patches of hair just come out. No warning"). The story of Lucas's recovery, and of the birth of her daughter, make her book surprisingly optimistic and immensely empowering.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"This is the first time that wearing lipstick is a metaphor for courage and hope. Geralyn Lucas' story of her experience with breast cancer is written in a breezy, inspirational voice. Her energetic enthusiasm and fears are balanced beautifully and expressively to rivet the reader on each page."
-Evelyn Lauder, senior corporate vice president of The Estée Lauder Companies and
founder and chairman of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation

"I played it, Geralyn lived it. Read this book and you'll never wear lipstick the same way again."
-Kim Cattrall, actress

"In this gutsy, touching and often hilarious journal, Geralyn takes the reader on her roller coaster of emotional experiences, from the heartbreak of hearing her diagnosis to the triumph of her daughter's birth. Millions of women, and those who love them, will be forever grateful for this powerful and life-affirming book. At Lifetime, I know we are immensely grateful and proud to have Geralyn's passion and knowledge dedicated to our advocacy campaign to stop breast cancer."
-Carole Black, president and CEO of Lifetime Entertainment Services

"As a doctor, I'm always looking at patients from the outside in. This book is an extraordinary perspective from the inside out. As Geralyn's self-discovery and triumph over breast cancer unfolds, she takes us with her from her doctor's office, to work, through her living room, to the bedroom, right into the bathroom, and in and out of taxicabs. You need to be with her through each of these moments to see-right up close-how much sheer sweetness, sadness, love, honesty, uncertainty, terror, courage, excitement, hope, and guts were bundled into each piece of every day. Geralyn is bigger than life and death. Now I'm wearing lipstick!"
-Marisa Weiss, M.D., breast cancer specialist, president and founder of breastcancer.org, founder of Living Beyond Breast Cancer, and author of Living Beyond Breast Cancer

"Geralyn Lucas makes you laugh and cry in the very same moment with her account of going through mastectomy and beyond. Her vivid scenes are cinematographic in detail, and sweep you along her journey with unerring perception, insight, and ultimately, acceptance and personal growth. This unique story is a must-read for any woman who has a friend, loved one, or who is herself enduring the experience of breast cancer. It's like nothing else ever written on the subject, and adds a note of humanity and humor to a topic that often lacks either. You can't help but thoroughly enjoy this book."
-Lucy Danziger, editor-in-chief of Self magazine (the founder of Pink Ribbon)
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031233446X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312334468
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #172,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Wayne T. Healey on November 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I picked up my wife's book, not knowing what it was about. With the title and photo I assumed it to be about dating. As I began reading it became clear to me that this lady was in big trouble.

My mother was in her late forties when she discovered a lump in her left breast. A general practitioner told her she had cancer and must immediately have the breast removed. This was in the sixties. He hacked off her breast and sewed it up in a most crude manner, leaving a hideous scar. I knew what she went through was no picnic, but until reading "Why I wore Lipstick," I had no idea the depths of her despair and suffering.

In the eighties my sister was found to have cancer, and both breasts were removed and then reconstructed. Again, no idea of what she was going through.

Last year my mother again developed cancer, this time in her right breast. She was 85 years old and suffering from dementia.

With the help of my loving wife and hospice we nursed her in my home until her death.

Geralyn's story took me into the physical and psychological depths of her experience. She shared her feelings in a way that I never could have imagined. Her story also gave me insight into the media world. I always assume that those who make it to the top tend to lack compassion and kindness. I am grateful for her helping me to become more sensitive to the afflicted, and for helping dispel my prejudice toward those in high places.

Humility, humor, openness. What an experience!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jack B. on September 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Lucas manages to convey the roller coaster ride which is diagnosing, treating, and surviving breast cancer with unique wit, intelligence,honesty and humor. She has bared her soul as well as her breast, and imparts important information along the way. This is a must read for anyone who has breast cancer, who had breast cancer, who had a relative or friend with breast cancer, or who fears getting breast cancer which is to say, ALL OF US. It is also a primer for doctors as to how to approach patients. Just being smart isn't enough, as Ms. Lucas makes crystal clear. Although the main focus of the book is breast cancer, I think it has useful information for all current or former cancer patients , their families and friends, and their caregivers. Don't miss this one! Jane A.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Wendy C. on November 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Geralyn Lucas writes a thought provoking and candid account of her Cancer experience. She addresses topics that are not addressed in most other accounts - beauty, sexuality, familial tensions. I found the book to be fresh and exciting. Good for her, she wrote what a lot of young cancer patients need to hear.
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28 of 37 people found the following review helpful By S. A. Cook on August 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Every young woman's experience with cancer is different so this account is useful from that perspective. But as a young survivor I found it very ego-centric and not at all relateable. Is it tragic that she got breast cancer - yes. Is it more tragic that she got breast cancer AND she's "pretty" and married to a doctor and knows people whose names we recognize - no. While I acknowledge that body image and issues of sexuality and attractiveness seem to be more acute the younger a woman is - this book never develops beyond the surface. Being someone that is not interested in "It" girls (or guys) to begin with - her "it" experience with breast cancer is also lack-luster for me.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amy Larson on March 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
I first saw the movie - while I was going through breast cancer myself at 32. Months later - I bought the book. I loved it! I was able to understand what other people went through. It was easy to read with lots of charm. I feel like I really know her and want to read more about how her life is today. I have shared this book with others so they can also understand what it is like to have breast cancer. It should be read by anyone with a loved one - breast cancer can happen to anyone.
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29 of 40 people found the following review helpful By J. Moran on October 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Although I enjoyed the book and read it in one sitting, I feel that since it is nearly a decade removed from the disease that its recollections are way too gauzy. Granted it is well written and humorous: But beware - the author engenders more compliments than a Hollywood startlet. Practically everyone she comes in contact with tells her she is beautiful, foxy, stunning, etc. It it filled with grown men reduced to tears - her surgeon, her high school friend she hasn't seen in years, groups at birthday parties, as if all men that know her can't help but mourn for her marred beauty. Her sex life resumes without missing a beat. She get a promotion during her chemo. Barbara Walters showers her with flowers. She comes in contact with New York City cabbies who are sympathetic to her disease, as only an "It" girl could. It fails to capture the searing lonliness and alienation that most patients with this disease experience. For a more honest account of what cancer is like for a young survivor read Katherine Rich's "Red Devil".
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Obsessed Mom on March 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I have just finished reading this book. Anyone who has wanted to help a friend with breast cancer needs to read this book! She is so candid, honest and open about what is it like to have breast cancer... You are with her every step of the way from the chemo cocktails to the high school reunion.

For those who were critical of her being the "it" girl, thank God for this "it" girl coming out with breast cancer. The reality is that breast cancer is an epidemic and we need to get it out of the closet. This book is a god-send. I am giving this book to my next friend diagnosed with breast cancer!
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