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Naked Mountain: A Memoir Paperback – September 6, 2016
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“A highly engaging memoir, a fine blend of life’s images and passages. Her redeeming discovery of the Southeast's remote Blue Ridge outback enfolds a journey through joy and family tragedy. Marcia Mabee's pace doesn't falter, but she knows when to slow the story, for vivid details about both personal and natural history. Deeply felt, well told.”
—Stephen Nash, 2015 winner, American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award for Virginia Climate Fever: How Global Warming Will Transform Our Cities, Shorelines, and Forests.
“Conservationists, bird-lovers, healthcare advocates, and cancer patients will be touched and educated by this love story composed by a cancer survivor, a cancer caregiver, and a woman on a road to recovery.”
—Susan Gubar, author of the Living with Cancer blog for The New York Times
“A passionate conservationist, Mabee finds her commitment to survival of the endangered cruelly tested as she battles her way through ovarian cancer, only to have news of her hard-won remission upstaged by a shock bulletin: her husband has pancreatic cancer. As she navigates the onslaught of illness, death, and grief, Mabee offers a compelling portrait of love, tenacity, and resilience that will inspire both those who ail and those who mourn.”
—Jill Smolowe, author of Four Funerals and a Wedding
“Marcia Mabee is a professional working woman, wife, environmentalist, stepmother, entrepreneur, and cancer warrior. She provides an honest and raw account of both the successes and the limitations of cancer treatment. This is a book worth reading for anyone who has struggled with grief and personal challenges. I highly recommend it.”
—Deborah K. Armstrong, M.D., Professor of Oncology, Gynecology and Obstetrics, Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center
"What starts out as one man’s romantic gesture to impress the woman he loves, the purchase of a mountain in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, eventually turns into a shared love of another kind. What emerges is an enormous challenge to preserve the unique botanical treasures of the land they acutely love and then the challenge to survive cancer. Mabee’s grit and resolve are a source of wonder, a haunting testament to the fortitude of the human spirit."
—Barbara Donsky, author of Veronica’s Grave
"This is a memoir of love, place and a chance to love again.”
—Northern Virginia Magazine
“Keep the Kleenex handy, for Mabee’s tribute to Tim’s love and life is so profound and poignantly rendered that it is impossible not to be moved to tears. Yet for all the tragedy that engulfed their lives, what endured was the mountain, and what sustained them was the serenity and beauty found within its hills.” —Booklist
About the Author
Marcia Mabee is a retired Washington, DC “lobbyist.” After serving as professional staff for a committee of Congress, she represented nonprofit public health associations before the Administration and Congress for twenty-five years. She holds multiple advanced degrees, including a PhD in health policy, an MPH, and an MSW. She has been published in The American Journal of Surgery and The Journal of the American College of Surgeons, and has written chapters for medical and nursing textbooks. She currently writes a blog about living in the middle of the Naked Mountain Natural Area Preserve, a property she and her deceased husband, Timothy Bell, purchased in Virginia in 1988. An ovarian cancer survivor, she also writes about cancer and grief recovery. Naked Mountain is her first book.
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What I didn't expect but thoroughly embraced was the telling of the author's love story which was so much involved with their weekends on the mountain, their shared devotion to her husband's special needs daughter, and the author's determination to maintain a normal life while battling a particularly dreaded form of cancer. She was so open and honest about her long battle to survive while also maintaining a demanding career that when she won her battle only to have her husband be striken, with cancer, I could not imagine how she could endure, but she did. And I could not put down the book until she had!
This is a book for grownups who know how a sentence should look. Ms. M is a professional communicator, and it shows in her writing. It is straightforward, unembellished, without any stylistic stuff. It is concrete: She uses real names of real places and real people, some of whom I know.