Helpful Breast Cancer Books
Laughter as the Best Medicine. I have to admit that not everyone shares my black humor, especially about cancer and other serious topics, so I was delighted to stumble upon a story in today’s Washington Post about cartoonist Miriam Engleberg. She is the author and illustrator of a new book “Cancer Made Me A Shallower Person: A Memoir In Comics, (Harper), a collection that deals with her breast cancer diagnosis in 2001. The cancer later spread to her brain. If she can find humor in her situation, more power to her. Engelberg also has a website with some of her comics and a blog.
From the brief samples of the comics on her website, I can tell Engelberg has a similar sensibility to mine, finding some of the same things absurd--how people are always sneaking a look at your chest to see which breast has been affected, how listening to tapes of the ocean is supposed to help you overcome your fear and dread of chemotherapy, and how often and when you can play the cancer card. I want to call her up and tell her my husband’s reaction to how, many years back, I shamelessly used the cancer card to try to get my daughter the most desirable elementary school teacher. (Hey, it worked!) Engleberg seems like the kind of person I would like to have as a friend and lunch companion. Too bad she lives in San Francisco.
Lab Rats. I never took many science classes once I went to college and they were no longer required. Thus, I have always been curious about what goes in labs, especially ones where researchers are trying to cure cancer. A recent novel that I liked very much called Intuition by Allegra Goodman (Dial Press) captures this world. It takes place in a lab in Cambridge, Mass. and explores the relationships and rivalries between a group of academic researchers in their 20s and 30s, and the shifts that occur when one of them appears to have made a breakthrough that could lead to curing cancer. The book is remarkable not only for the academic lab world that it depicts, which is fascinating, but also in how the characters are developed. The plot really works, too. A highly compelling read.
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Published On: June 08, 2006