A stirring, inspiring account of one couple’s story of surviving cancer.

5.4%

An intimate, thoughtful look at one couple’s journey through pancreatic cancer and recovery.

In Guidara’s debut memoir, she chronicles a painful and inspiring year with her husband, Frank. Her book begins when the couple receives Frank’s diagnosis just prior to their first wedding anniversary. When Frank turned yellow and a gallstone was ruled out, it turned out he had pancreatic cancer, one of the rarest and deadliest forms of the disease. The chance of his living five years was 5.4 percent. Guidara became fiercely convinced that if Frank listened to his body and treated it with respect, it would keep him alive. Frank himself never behaved as though the cancer could beat him. Guidara, terrified of losing her husband, reached out to medical professionals and friends and family, finally incorporating a number of different therapies into his traditional regimen of surgery, radiation and chemo. As a hypnotherapist herself, Guidara was open to including several Eastern and Western strategies for cleansing and detoxifying the body. Although initially reserved about the practice of Tong Ren, which involves a complicated use of the mind-body connection and anatomical bioelectric signals, she and Frank quickly embraced these methods of acupuncture and healing. Along with praying and relying on many tenets of the raw food movement, Guidara developed a complementary regime of her own to keep Frank strong enough to fight the cancer. Although Frank’s outcome is foretold in the book’s subtitle, Guidara’s moving portrayal of the agony of coping with such a deadly cancer is riveting. She writes in chatty, rapid-fire prose of an almost daily battle to stay strong. Her desperation to find and try anything that might help him, along with her willingness to lay bare her fears and hurts—even sharing that she stockpiled sleeping pills just in case Frank didn’t make it—gives a raw account of the emotional roller coaster that started with a cancer diagnosis.

A stirring, inspiring account of one couple’s story of surviving cancer.

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2012

ISBN: 978-1478273592

Page Count: 330

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 29, 2012

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

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PERSIST

The Massachusetts senator and financial reformer recounts several of her good fights over the years.

Famous for being chided for “persisting” on the Senate floor, Warren is nearly a byword for the application of an unbending, if usually polite, feminism to the corridors of power. Though she has a schoolmarm-ish air—and indeed taught school for much of her life—she gladly owns up to liking a beer or two and enjoying a good brawl, and she’s a scrapper with a long memory. In 2008, when she shopped a proposal to found a federal agency that “could act as a watchdog to make sure that consumers weren’t getting cheated by financial institutions,” she encountered a congressman who “laughed in my face.” She doesn’t reveal his name, but you can bet he crosses the hall when she’s coming the other way. Warren does name other names, especially Donald Trump, who, with Republicans on the Hill, accomplished only one thing, namely “a $2 trillion tax cut that mostly benefited rich people.” Now that the Democrats are in power, the author reckons that the time is ripe to shake off the Trump debacle and build “a nation that works, not just for the rich and powerful but for everyone.” She identifies numerous areas that need immediate attention, from financial reform to bringing more women into the workplace and mandating equal pay for equal work. Warren premises some of these changes on increased taxes on the rich, happily citing a billionaire well known for insider trading, who complained of her, “This is the fucking American dream she is shitting on.” The author reverts to form: “Oh dear. Did I hit a nerve?” Warren’s common-sensical proposals on housing, infrastructure development, and civil rights merit attention, and her book makes for a sometimes-funny, sometimes–sharp-tongued pleasure.

A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-79924-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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