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Highly recommended: an exceptionally well-organized, authoritative, and readable resource book.

A valuable resource for those wondering whether there is a chance that cancer runs in their family.

Ross (Director, Cancer Genetics Program/Univ. of Texas Southwestern Medical Center) has the ideal background: oncologist, cancer survivor who carries a cancer gene mutation, and cancer gene researcher with a mission to help people. She sends an upbeat message that learning about a cancer mutation in one’s family history is not about coping with bad news; it is about taking control and making choices. Although readers learn about the author’s decision-making process when she discovered the risks of her mutant gene, she does not claim that they were the best choices at the time nor does she prescribe what choices others should make. She organizes her information with great care and clarity, and thankfully, she lightens the reading with her personal story and those of the cancer patients she has known. Ross explains how cancer mutations are passed through families, how to recognize the signs of a cancer mutation, how to create a revealing family tree, how to get genetic counseling and genetic testing, and how to tell family members that they may be at risk, often information they may not want to hear. Furthermore, she describes how to manage one’s risk when experts give conflicting information or when information is limited. The chapter on targeted treatments, subtitled “Realities, Myths, Possibilities,” is sometimes a bit technical, but Ross calmly advises readers to evaluate current research on new treatments in the same way they researched their family history: with persistence, honesty, and toleration for the discomfort of not knowing. Appendices provide additional practical information on inherited cancer syndromes and their risk management, and a resource list contains the names and websites of helpful support organizations.

Highly recommended: an exceptionally well-organized, authoritative, and readable resource book.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-98283-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Avery

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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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

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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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