An appealing, sharply self-inquisitive remembrance.

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A breast cancer survivor recounts her arduous journey in this debut memoir.

Before her diagnosis in 2010, attorney Dunnewold thought of herself as the “queen of compliance”—she didn’t smoke or “fool around,” and she practiced yoga and ate organic food. Her worst vices, she says, were “expensive chocolate and Grey’s Anatomy.” So in July 2010, when she discovered a “weirdly grainy area” in her breast, she wasn’t immediately worried. She was later told that she had “several tumors on both sides” and that her only option was a bilateral mastectomy. In the space of two years, Dunnewold came to terms with the fact that she had stage 3 cancer while enduring lifesaving surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, followed by reconstructive procedures. Her memoir candidly examines all aspects of her fight against breast cancer, from her first mammogram to nipple reconstruction and areola tattooing, and she relates her story with a probing, dry wit. For example, she tells of writing an email with the subject line “A Bump in the Road,” announcing to acquaintances she had cancer, and she confides, “I did not entitle my email ‘A Bump in the Boob,’ although I was tempted.” This dark sense of humor may not be to everyone’s taste, but it successfully counterbalances the unsettling facts that the author faces head-on: “Don’t think you’re so special,” she writes. “Don’t think you’re exempt.” What sets Dunnewold’s memoir apart from others of a similar nature is that it directly addresses the question “Why me?” and presents this line of thought as being unhelpful: “Sometimes what happens to us is a mystery. But we can take credit for how we respond.” Her writing also sparkles with clarity and wisdom throughout: “You want to know what lessons cancer taught me? Here’s The Big One: Life is too short to finish War and Peace.” Overall, this book may provide a valuable lifeline to those facing similar challenges.

An appealing, sharply self-inquisitive remembrance.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68433-378-3

Page Count: 217

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 1, 2019



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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