Then Came Life: A Memoir of Living with the Same Courage, Spirit, and Humor that Helped Me Survive Breast Cancer by Geralyn Lucas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the "after" story of cancer.
Geralyn is a survivor, and that strong identity with cancer holds a lot of negative energy for her. This book is about her trying to live while surviving.
It's certainly an important and likely oft overlooked part of the healing process. Here you are, one of the lucky ones that "beats" cancer, and it's so easy to ask "Why me?" To wonder what sets you apart. To feel guilt that you aren't doing something amazing with this new found life that you have been granted. To feel like you owe something to all of the people who weren't as lucky. It's equally hard not to let the fears become overwhelming. Is it coming back? Did I "give" this to my daughter? Every little pain, bump, bruise becomes a new obsession. Geralyn explores some of these ideas, and shares the moments that gave her strength.
While reading the book I was continuously thinking to myself how much I disliked the author. She's shallow, self-centered and insecure. She's not the kind of person that I would want to be, or to hang out with, or even meet for coffee. Then I thought - wait a second. This isn't a character in a novel, this is a real person. A person who has the nerve to really put herself out there. She put all of these flaws in a book for me to read and she shows an awareness of the need to grow and evolve. Doesn't that deserve a little bit of credit?
I think my main issue with the author is that while she shows the need to love herself, respect her mother, grow closer to her family, etc. she doesn't really achieve any of that. But isn't that life? Don't we all look back at ourselves a day, month, year, or decade later and think "Geesh, I was a real jerk there, I wish I would have just done _____ instead." So I tried not to hold the authors selfish outlook against her. I really did try, and by the end it was kind of worth it. But I still don't want to meet her for coffee.
I have not personally had cancer, but I can see how this book could be helpful for people who have had cancer, or have made the journey through cancer with a loved one. For myself though, the book wasn't really for me, and I probably will not look for other books by this author.
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