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The Noodle Chronicles: Everything I Know About Cheating Death I Learned From My Kid Paperback – May 14, 2014
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This book reflects one woman's journey through the unthinkable--dealing with a child with cancer. An unnerving topic at best, and the only way to pull off such grim subject matter like this is to infuse it with raw sincerity, which is what Amanda Winn-Lee does. Describing childhood cancer--the pain of watching your baby suffer, the hopelessness, the guilt and anxiety--is a daunting undertaking, and if Winn-Lee didn't write with such open honesty, the reader would have a much harder time.
Honesty and, I might add, a ton of humor. Winn-Lee's sometimes hilarious take on things transforms this story from a gloomy read to a wondrous treat. The book is sad where it needs to be, but joyous and downright uproarious in all the right places. Think you can't possibly find humor in such a depressing subject? Think again! You'll laugh more than you'll cry (although the book definitely hands out some grab-the-Kleenex moments.)
Winn-Lee doesn't pull punches, she writes what she thinks. But for all its serious and sometimes goofily irreverent subject matter, the writing style is light, easy to read. I had a hard time putting this book down--I wanted to keep reading, not only because I was interested in the story, but because Winn-Lee writes so well. In fact, I'm a little jealous of her style, but I know how she does it. Stephen King once said if you aren't honest in your writing, people will see right through you, and reject your work. You can't reject Winn-Lee's style because she writes in a simple, clean, fun, and above all, honest way.
I highly recommend this book. Mothers (whether their kid suffers with cancer or not) will relate. Folks who have a family member with cancer will relate. And if you enjoy a poignant, funny, no-holds-barred story written by a very talented author, you'll relate too. That includes about everybody, I think!
What I liked: Honestly, almost everything. It was a damn hard book to read though. Even knowing that Noodle survives his ordeal didn't make this book any easier to handle emotionally. I'm not a mother, but the entire time I read this book I felt as though I had this huge bowling ball in my stomach. I felt physically ill. I didn't cry. but let me tell you...I wish I had, if only to get some kind of relief from the physical discomfort.
I know that that makes it sound as though I did not like this book, but that's further from the truth. It's not too often that a writer can put her audience right there in the midst of what was going on. Amanda Winn Lee writes as though everything is happening in real time and I although I was so physically miserable I just had to read this book in one sitting.
What I didn't: I didn't mind this so much, but there is a lot of cursing. It didn't offend me (you should hear Hubby and I) but I know some people would have issues. There was also some formatting issues that kind of annoyed me. The book started out not having a space in between paragraphs, and then having the line break. So it initially threw me off.
I'm glad I don't have kids yet after reading this as I'm fairly certain that I would have had nightmares all night if I did.
Cancer is a disease I'm somewhat familiar with as both a very dear friend of mine and one of my aunts have died from it, both not very long after the initial diagnosis. As a result, I see cancer as being an all-encompassing bogeyman which can never be defeated, never assuaged. It's obvious while reading this memoir that while Winn Lee has a different perspective on the disease as her father was a famous oncologist, her healthy fear of it is conveyed by language which is true and stark, unforgiving and unflinching. There are some who will flinch from the sheer amount of times the expletive which rhymes with "duck" are used, but I dare anyone who isn't a trained Mormon to use moderate language when relating a story like this and recalling specific incidents with well-meaning but clueless people whose thoughtless words hurt rather than helped.
I appreciate how rather than use a strictly chronological approach to telling her son's story, she chose to group subjects into sections. It's almost as if she knew that a person reading this book who might be in the exact position she used to be would want to know how she managed to deal with the pain, anguish, and depression throughout the stages of the treatment. I do wish, however, that she was able to be a bit more descriptive when describing her surroundings and the people she interacted with.
All in all, I'm glad that Winn Lee was able to publish these memoirs and I can see myself re-reading it down the road whenever I find myself weighed down by sadness.
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Ive known Amanda Winn Lee since about 2000 or 2001 when I first met her at a convention for fans of...Read more