A LUCKY LIFE INTERRUPTED by Tom Brokaw

A LUCKY LIFE INTERRUPTED

A Memoir
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Veteran news anchor and Greatest Generation chronicler Brokaw (The Time of Our Lives, 2011, etc.) turns inward to report on his battle with cancer.

It began with a constantly aching back—nothing out of the ordinary for a hard-riding septuagenarian who “attributed it to long plane rides and an active lifestyle.” Not only that, writes the author in this wryly good-natured memoir, but he also had a kind of baseless confidence that, even entering his mid-70s, he was untouchable, full of “the false sense of assurance of someone who’d had a long, uninterrupted run of personal and professional good fortune.” All that comes crashing down early on in his book, when his doctor reads aloud a column of numbers, remarks on a spike in the protein cells, and then calmly announces that he has a malignancy—and worse, multiple myeloma, which can be treated but, so far, not cured. Given a prognosis of five or more years before the Grim Reaper comes knocking, Brokaw looks back on a long career in the news, with a name-dropped cast of characters, a surprising number of whom suffered or have suffered from terrible illness. In that light, the author does not incline to self-pity, taking instead an almost scholarly interest in his disease and approvingly quoting his friend and contemporary Jim Harrison, who remarks, “As I aged, I expected to think about death far more than I do.” Death is a reality here, to be sure, and Brokaw is fascinated by all its trappings, writing of MRIs and blood tests and insufferable doctors (“The Sloan specialist in charge of structural issues was a forty-three-year-old with a big résumé, a brusque style, and apparently not much interest in face-to-face consultation”) and all the rest.

Brokaw’s account lacks the depth and fire of Christopher Hitchens’ Mortality (2013), but it belongs on the same shelf as a wise and oddly comforting look at the toughest news of all.

Pub Date: May 12th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4000-6969-9
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2015




OUR CRITICS' TAKES ON MORE BESTSELLERS

See full list >
Cover art for THE SLEEPING BEAUTY KILLER
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for MOONGLOW
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for CHAOS
VERDICT:
SKIP IT
Cover art for ODESSA SEA
VERDICT:
BORROW IT

MORE BY TOM BROKAW

NonfictionTHE TIME OF OUR LIVES by Tom Brokaw
by Tom Brokaw
NonfictionBOOM! by Tom Brokaw
by Tom Brokaw

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionON THE CANCER FRONTIER by Paul A. Marks
by Paul A. Marks
NonfictionTHE CANCER CHRONICLES by George Johnson
by George Johnson
NonfictionHOW DOCTORS THINK by Jerome Groopman
by Jerome Groopman