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Pale Girl Speaks: A Year Uncovered Paperback – September 25, 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Pale Girl Speaks: A Year Uncovered
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  • Melanoma- Not Just Skin Cancer
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  • A Melanoma Patient's Survival Guide: Lemons Really Do Make Lemonade: You Just Have to Add a Little Sugar
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This entertaining memoir by a melanoma survivor should appeal to many others with skin cancer. Unfortunately, Fogelson laces far too many sentences with expletives, and not just when she is describing her diagnosis. Even at the end, when she gives her 10-years-after epilogue, she calls her two young daughters “fun-fucking-tastic kids.” Her crude sense of humor can come off as offensive. For example, she says, “I don’t really smell; it’s just that I’d like a chance to shave my armpits before my pit hair is long enough to French braid.” (Far funnier is her reminder to self, “Find a hat that doesn’t make me look like a deck umbrella.”) The book weaves script-style dialogue (fore-attributed to “Me:” and “Dad:”) and conventional narrative. Did she tape record the ostensibly decades-old conversations? Doubtful. Despite these flaws, the book gives important information about melanoma. Fogelson follows an “a-b-c-d” rule to check her moles for asymmetry, irregular border, variation in color, and diameter larger than a pencil eraser’s. And her father also gets diagnosed, illustrating how melanoma can run in families. The happily-ever-after ending (at least so far) for dad and daughter should give hope to others dealing with the disease. --Karen Springen

Review

This brave, irreverent, and brutally honest account has helped me better understand what my patients go through, and will change how I practice dermatology. -Dr. Jessica Wu, Hollywood dermatologist and author of Feed Your Face

Composed as a screenplay with truncated chapters, very little exposition, and lots of punchy dialog, L.A. blogger Fogelson's memoir mines the panic and fear she felt when diagnosed with skin cancer just as she and her husband were thinking of having children. In her mid-20s, fair-complexioned, and a veteran sun worshiper, Fogelson had to make an about-face when her dermatologist revealed that a malignant melanoma required immediate surgery. She got strong support from family members including her clean-freak mother, laconic father, and TV-producer husband, Adam. And there were numerous, attentive doctors, all of whose quirky personalities are revealed via the book's dialogue. Fogelson renders her terrified, in-the-moment impressions as laugh-out-loud scenes. Trying to be admirably "proactive" as a cancer patient, she grew obsessively controlling about treatment and staying informed, calling her doctor repeatedly to find out test results, questioning whether surgery had removed the right mole, and applying vats of sunscreen. The experience was certainly bracing, but Fogelson's snappy account proves energetic and wonderfully accessible. —Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press (September 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580054447
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580054447
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,204,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a Stage 4 Melanoma Warrior I can appreciate everything she describes. The thoughts going through her head could've been mine! Cancer is probably the scariest word you could ever hear. My only regret is that I didn't come across this book at the beginning of my journey.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was very interested in the book because I have a granddaughter who also has had three episodes of melanoma.
The only problem I had with the book was the foul language. The book was full of it and there was no reason at all for it.
Without the language it was very interesting.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I recommend this for any woman who needs a good laugh, a lot of "I know exactly how she feels" moments and a poignant story of your world turning upside down. I have recommended this book to several friends. In fact, I should give it as a gift.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found Pale Girl Speaks to be the perfect combination of truth, humor, and openness. I dove into this book and could not put it down. Right away, I felt a connection to the author; I felt understood. And feeling understood while on this cancer journey is very important. I loved reading about all of the "crazy" thoughts/actions/words brought on by melanoma, and feeling like, "It's good to know I am not the only one who does that!!!". I recommend this book to anyone touched by this disease. Hillary Fogelson is a brilliant and witty writer.
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Format: Paperback
I typically avoid memoirs about illnesses, particularly if there is even a slim chance that I, too, could someday develop the illness...say breast cancer, brain cancer or the like. I'm neurotic enough to know that in these cases, I choose ignorance over adding to the ever-growing list of Things To Worry About. That said, I succumbed to Hillary Fogelson's memoir over her struggles with melanoma by getting hooked with her first sentence, then the one after, and the one after that until the book was, well, read. All I can really say is that I thoroughly enjoyed it, LOVED her singular, very funny voice, and was motivated by the end to...see a dermatologist. Two pre-cancerous moles later and I can now say that Pale Girl Speaks is not just a great read, it is potentially life saving! Take that, ignorance! Get educated and read this fabulous book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hillary Fogelson's year uncovered is a joy to read. It is an honest, refreshing retelling of that moment in life when the world as we know it shifts. As a melanoma "survivor" myself, I found Fogelson's words to hit all the right notes. It was funny, maddening and captivating - naming those quiet moments that so often go unseen, but are a very real part of dealing with cancer. Susan
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By AJ Cramer on November 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
What great writing - I felt like I was a part of Hillary Fogelson's friend base - like we were just sitting and talking about the dangers of melanoma and life problems and girl talk. Lots of info about melanoma presented in a non-threatening but important way and made into a life story that reads like a novel. Loved it.
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Format: Paperback
A funny, page turner of a read. The dialogue is fantastic. Hillary Fogelson does an excellent job of creating a very readable, accesible description of dealing with a health crisis, anxiety, and the realities of skin cancer.
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