Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cancer Is A Bitch, Gail Konop Baker's Memoir

I read Gail Konop Baker's memoir Cancer Is A Bitch *Or I'd Rather Be Having a Mid-Life Crisis, twice. Before reading it, I wondered if I'd be able to relate-- I've never had cancer, I'm lucky and grateful for that. I also grew up in a neurosis-is-the-breakfast-of-champions environment, where the word cancer is whispered for fear that elevating the pitch would somehow invite the disease into our lives. Flowing along that superstition, I wondered if reading a book about cancer would beckon a social call. Would I be dialing-a-disease-for-delivery by reading this memoir? What would my grandparents think? Should I even tell my parents I was reading a shh-book?


And I wonder where my hypochondriac roots stem from?! Really? Really. OY.

The minute I started reading Cancer Is A Bitch, I could NOT put it down. Honestly, irreverently, hysterically and exquisitely, Gail hurled me into what she endured and continues to face as a cancer survivor. But, more than that- the frenetic chaos, endless questions, overwhelming fear and love, so much love for her family, her life and her relationship with herself, it was so poetically human, so perfectly written, how could I not relate? With every page I devoured, the more invested in Gail's life, in her family, her hopes, her dreams, her friends, her choices, her fears, her consequences, and her everything, I became. I felt so deeply connected to her. I fell in love with her, her bravery, the complexity of her mind, how fucking brutally-unrelentingly-honest she is and her humor.

Everyone will take something different from Cancer Is A Bitch, of course. What I took from it, why it had such a profound impact on me and why I had to read it twice was because (again, for me) it was about my relationship with myself and how sidelined and consumed by others that can become. How quickly I have, at times dismissed the importance of it or realized that it even was important.

Gail's book officially hits bookstores in October. You can pre-order Cancer Is A Bitch now. I beg you to do so. Any book that can make me laugh, cry, feel chaotic, angry and nauseous, all at the same time is a must read, period. I felt all of that and so much more. I am grateful to Gail for having the moxie to spin this yarn, it's beautiful. You will love each and every word. READ IT. READ IT. READ IT. Right now. Drag your ass to this link and pre-order it. Ga'head... I'm waiting.

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