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Hope Shining Through The Darkness Of Cancer: Stories of Courage Paperback – November 7, 2013
The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
Collette A. Henry has always had a passion for reading. Then once she was stricken with brain cancer, her passion became a duel craving, where she turned to writing and is now a published book author. A.O. Green is an avid reader, writer, and a student of life in general. Having had cancer and it is now in remission, he understands the plight of the contributors in this book.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book itself is a collection of stories told by various people who have experienced cancer and survived, were caregivers of survivors, or were caregivers of those who did not survive. This is a brave book because cancer is one of those scary diseases. When people find out you have or have had cancer, the looks you get are of extreme pity as if you have death written on your face. "It's good to see you healthy" as if to say "Congratulations on not dying!". People "not-die" every day...cancer is just another disease to be treated, medicated, doctored, etc. So, to tell these stories in the very personal way they are told is a measure of extreme courage because of the vulnerability presented. They are very personal stories with a lot of detail on the cancer journeys presented.
Considering our own cancer journey, though, I'm not sure I'd hand this book over to someone currently going through cancer treatments and diagnosis. There are a lot of stories in here that are full of those scary details that you just, really, don't want to hear about. It's scary enough to consider all the many different things that could go wrong. To have people tell you, in excruciating detail, "Yup, it went wrong" is unhelpful. For us, we didn't want to hear all those horror stories... our own imaginations were good enough. For a person facing cancer, what is needed is not more horror, but something akin to simply listening. We valued, deeply, those people who came to us and just gifted us with presence. We weren't lepers, we weren't unclean and outcaste, people would stay with us, talk with us, laugh with us, and, most importantly, listen to us.
As I read this book, I felt not a sense of hope shining through, I simply heard story after story of people going through this horrible journey. There were a few shining moments in the book where the stories told about how people recentered their lives, refocused on the important things in life. Those stories are gems and, by themselves, they give hope. It is a hope that, in the midst of the darkness of cancer, it is a refining time, a time of purification. And, when you get through the other side, you are a better person for it. But for whatever reason, most of the stories told in this book I couldn't find that ray of hope. They were clinical, technical, biographical memoirs of people going through cancer.
As a personal preference, I would have preferred more of the "I found new purpose" or "my personal faith walk improved in this way" or something similar and less of the details of the various medical treatments. The emotional and relational journeys of the people in the book were of more interest to me than the physical medical journeys. If the stories could have been told that way, perhaps the title of the book would have come through even better.
This is not to say this book would have no meaning for people. Perhaps for those who have not experience the cancer journey, this book would have been an inspiring book of hope and courage. The incredible stories of surgeries, complications, life changes, death, life, family, etc., would give people outside of the world of cancer survivor hood inspiration to know that people go through it, they get through it, they live and they keep going. Perhaps the book would remove some of the stigma, that people who go through cancer aren't people to treat with kid gloves, but people that you might want to wear chain-mail around, they are that strong. But for me, cancer has changed my life so drastically that I can't remember that view point any more.
So, I give the book the three stars as an excellent collection of cancer stories. But I can't say it is top of my list of such books and I'm not sure I would recommend it to everyone.
I received the book for free from the publisher, Etteloc Publishing to review. The views in this review are my own and there was no expectation of a positive review in exchange for the book.