Top positive review
Holding on to hope
on October 12, 2009
'My Journey with Farrah: A Story of Life, Love and Friendship' is an intimate portrait of a woman battling for life. The woman happens to be seventies sex symbol and pop culture icon Farrah Fawcett but, as the book shows, she saw herself as simply another cancer patient and did what she could to inspire others fighting similar battles.
Written by Fawcett's friend of 30 years, 'My Journey' is a collection of diary entries from Alana Stewart's journal, so there is inevitable repetition as Stewart obsesses about her lacklustre love life, worries about her own health (including a brief cancer scare), and admonishes herself for not being there for her grown children every time they call on her. There are also elements of triviality as she writes of feeding her dogs, baking, watching Fox News and dealing with mail that piled up while overseas with Fawcett pursuing cancer treatments in Germany - but these everyday concerns bring a certain realism and 'everyman' component to the book.
Although there are a number of rare personal photos from happier times, they contrast starkly with the text, which becomes progressively darker. The book's mood changes with the turn of a page as the diary entries often leap several months at a time. In some phases, long, detailed, daily entries are provided - usually when Fawcett's prognosis worsens. As the book progresses, Fawcett's ultimate outlook gets bleaker, but Farrah fights on with Stewart by her side - even when Alana feels pulled in other directions. Farrah's on-off partner of 30 years, Ryan O'Neal appears periodically throughout the book, usually as light relief - being the one who could still bring a smile to Farrah's face, even in her darkest moments. But it is Stewart who is the constant rock during her battle.
It is sobering to realise, as one reads the final entries in this first-hand account of Farrah Fawcett's struggle with life and death, that it happened to a legendary icon less than four months ago. Consider the tomes written about Elvis, Marilyn and other big names decades after their deaths - there is no way this insider detail would have been available publicly so quickly in the past. Is this a good thing - who knows? But it does indeed bring a very personal account of a public figure to the masses when their interest is piqued.
Fawcett's determination to keep on fighting and not give in to cancer is the stand-out message of 'My Journey'. Her Catholic faith helped her retain hope as those around her wavered. Although Farrah's battle for life was lost, she'll win new respect from anyone who reads this book - reminding us all what a precious gift life is.