A true story of love and personal growth in which a conventional physician’s world is turned upside down when his wife, diagnosed with a deadly cancer, begins exploring alternative medical therapies. Winawer, a gastrointestinal cancer specialist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York, is aided in telling the story of his wife’s fight for life by Taylor, whose A Necessary End (1994) described his own watch over his parents’ final years. When, in early 1992, Winawer’s wife, Andrea, was found to have a stomach cancer that had metastasized to her liver, Winawer found himself in a conflict between what his medical knowledge told him and what his wife needed to hear from him. Realizing that “patients facing lethal disease have to find hope,” and the start of hope is the belief that they can help themselves, he encouraged her to take control of her treatment plan.” Against his colleagues’ advice, he supported her decision to briefly postpone the initial surgery’she was anorexic and wanted to gain some weigh—and her decision to try unconventional hyperthermia treatments before undergoing standard chemotherapy. Without her doctors’ knowledge, he gave her injections of interferon and somatostatin when she decided to try them. During the next three and a half years, as Andrea went in and out of remission, she supplemented her standard medical treatments with relaxation and stress reduction techniques, Chinese herbal medicine, nutritional supplements, exercise, meditation, and prayer. His love for his wife overcoming his reservations, Winawer not only supported her treatment decisions, but researched them for her and helped her carry them out. Convinced that Andrea’s blend of conventional and complementary medical approaches enhanced the quality of her life and probably prolonged it, Winawer is now developing an integrative medicine program at Sloan-Kettering. A heartbreaking story that is not only a tribute to one woman’s fighting spirit but gives testimony to the power of love to open the mind. (Author tour)

Pub Date: May 13, 1998

ISBN: 0-316-94509-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1998


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



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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