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Lopsided: How Having Breast Cancer Can Be Really Distracting Hardcover – June 12, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Norton was in her midthirties, living in Paris with her French husband and toddler and suffering odd symptoms that French doctors dismissed. Visiting her parents in California, her lopsided breasts’ appearance caused her usually underreacting mother to insist she see a doctor. Within hours, Norton had seen the ob-gyn, two surgeons, “gotten a skin biopsy, had an ultrasound and mammogram, been scheduled for a stereotactic needle biopsy, and been wished a nice weekend.” Diagnosed with a virulent cancer and given a 40 percent chance of survival, she managed to maintain a breezy wit while surviving chemotherapy and attendant baldness, double mastectomy, radiation treatments, and the ministrations of her African American family, with its five blaring TV sets and discussion of everything except sex, money, and feelings. Such observations as, about her son, “his first trip to the beach might be my last” and about her ovaries’ death from chemo provoking “not the upset where you sniffle and cry, but the ghetto-style upset where you burn down someone’s check-cashing business” crackle with heartfelt intensity and irreverence. --Whitney Scott

Review

" Less a cancer survival guide and more a lovably unfiltered e-mail from a hilarious friend." -"People" " Norton [offers an] assured tone, keen eye and dry wit. I hope to encounter this clear, incisive, highly amusing voice again. Soon." -"The Orlando Sentinel" "A truly elegant memoir." -"O, The Oprah Magazine" " Norton strikes a successful balance between light and heavy, keeping her audience consistently engaged." -"San Francisco Chronicle" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (June 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670019283
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670019281
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,427,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Barbara Mcclure on July 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Meredith Norton's memoir is unexpectedly funny about a very serious subject. I found myself reading the novel,not wanting to put it down, eager to find out how she brings the story to an end. The comparison to Sedaris is appropriate as Meredith maintains the humor throughout yet pauses at times to allow us to understand the severity of cancer she faced. Memoirs are supposed to be self-reflections of personal experience, not self-help books that offer advice to others who may be suffering from the same disease; I disagree with the reviewer who suggests caution. Meredith brings us into her world and experiences, so we understand her confusion, frustration, anger, and humor. A great read from a woman who has a wonderful spirit and drive to survive against all odds. And she can write.
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Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book even though I had never heard of it because a) I'm interested in memoir and b) my sister-in-law is battling cancer. I never expected to be this enthralled. I simply could not put it down. Several times I found myself sneaking away from work just to read another page or two. I was riveted.

You can't help but fall in love with Meredith, this quirky character who doesn't take herself seriously and seems like just the kind of person I'd love (or be) in real life. Her battles are real but her wit is what moved me. I laughed out loud several times. I know, how is cancer funny? But you just have to read it for yourself. Really. You have to!

Don't miss this great read!
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Format: Hardcover
If you're looking for easy consolations and wishful thinking, don't look here. Meredith Norton pulls no punches and tells simple but hard truths: as her dad puts it, "No one gets out of here alive." But this isn't a depressing book; it's a story of (temporary) survival, and it's wickedly funny. Norton has a great eye for the ridiculous and outrageous in others and in herself. Recommended to anyone who may die.
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Format: Hardcover
I've read a lot of the breast cancer literature for the woman diagnosed since I was diagnosed 8 years ago - doing fine, thanks. This is the first one I think I've seen by a woman of color. A good combo read with Cancer Vixen.
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Format: Hardcover
Move over Lance Armstrong - I predict this funny and bittersweet book about cancer will become the new go-to gift book for newly diagnosed cancer patients. This book is refreshingly BS-free, offering a clear-eyed, witty, and brutally honest portrait of lives touched by cancer.

What a life too: Norton has piles of ridiculous personal stories that spice up the tale, such as her stories about her hardboiled mom and Cosby-style dad, plus enough crazy friends to fill up a football stadium. Norton's deft avoidance of saccharine-sweet cheese keeps this book true, clearing room for her humorous meditations to strike.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a blast of fresh air for anyone who has battled cancer directly or by the side of a loved one. It is written almost completely without self-pity: frank, intensely aware, perhaps afraid inside -- but brash and full of life outside. I'm not sure how much direct application it will have for most people -- the author seems to have lived a pretty unique life -- but it certainly gives one an unexpected, helpful, and ultimately very wise perspective on life with this awful disease.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book a year or so after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was excited to see a black woman with the disease sharing her story. There aren't a lot of those voices out here. It is a good book but even though we share race and this disease, her life was still pretty different from mine. I enjoyed learning about her balancing act with the disease and her life as a wife and mother in another country. I was hoping to see more lifestyle similarities to my own. That said... it is a good memoir. And I'm grateful that she wrote it.
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Format: Hardcover
I read "Lopsided" in less than a day -- couldn't put it down. Meredith Norton is a fabulous storyteller with a wicked sense of humor. What I find most appealing about her writing is her ability to poke fun of family and friends while simultaneously treating them with great affection. The book humanizes (and "humorizes") the process of living with a devastating form of cancer, a gift to many.

The book is not for everyone. The occasionally coarse language is one reason, and another is that it's not intended to be an "inspirational" memoir, which some desire or need. (I thought of giving it to one friend with terminal cancer, and decided against it.) But to those who can handle it, you will be left wanting more in-depth versions of each salacious anecdote!

I think it's a great companion to Adam Gopnik's "Paris to the Moon" -- both offer hilarious inside looks at the French-American tete-a-tete in our modern world.
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