HERE WE GROW

MINDFULNESS THROUGH CANCER AND BEYOND

An optimistic account that effectively advocates treating disease as something to work through— not fight.

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An entrepreneur and speaker chronicles her breast cancer journey in this debut memoir and self-help book.

Davis was only 38 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The news was not a complete surprise; she had noticed a lump but delayed seeing a doctor due to her growing business, BlueAvocado. She and her family had endured too many recent brushes with cancer. She had lost two aunts over several years, and her college friend Courtney had just been told she had breast cancer. After her diagnosis, Davis vowed never to use the terms “fight” or “battle” to describe her cancer odyssey. Already experienced with alternative medicine and spiritual practices, she quickly assembled a team—half-jokingly calling it “Team Woo-Woo”—and apprised it of her treatment plan. With her parents and sisters by her side, she had surgery at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Learning that the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes, she underwent six months of chemotherapy. Surrounded by an amazing support group of family, friends, and colleagues, Davis managed to remain upbeat, admitting that not having to worry about medical or living expenses was a privilege not everyone gets to enjoy. While she underwent traditional medical treatment for her cancer, she supplemented her healing with therapy from Flint Sparks, a psychotherapist and Zen Buddhist priest. Despite the name she gave her team, Davis formulated a treatment plan that was not outlandish. Primarily a memoir, this book—which features a few photographs—is very readable, surprisingly enjoyable, and truly uplifting. The author does not recommend any outrageous diets or cleansing rituals. Davis merely suggests that patients achieve a greater self-awareness and remain in tune with their bodies instead of acting like a war is being waged. She is refreshingly upfront about all aspects of her operation, treatment, and recovery, explaining the reconstructive surgery and decisions for her nipple tattoos. The most painful part of the work focuses on her decision not to delay her surgery to harvest eggs, forcing her to accept that she will never give birth to children. As Davis reveals in her engrossing book, she embarked on her cancer journey with a key advantage: She was already meditating and embracing holistic living.

An optimistic account that effectively advocates treating disease as something to work through— not fight.

Pub Date: May 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63152-381-6

Page Count: 141

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

FROM MEAN STREETS TO WALL STREET

Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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