Posts tagged cancer
Please read Zac and Mia.
I recently posted about good and not good cancer books. For me, a good cancer story is one that inspires, where the patient fights to win, and hopefully does win. On my list of must-read books are Radiate, Touched by Cancer, and The Fault in Our Stars. I am now adding Zac and Mia to that list of must-read books. You can read my full review here on goodreads.com.
What I like best about the book is that the two, Zac and Mia, fight their cancers and treatments. They get busy living. And they are there for each other. The two are not always bubbly and happy. Each has dark times of despair when they want to shut out everyone and everything, and there are times when they resent knowing the other person. But at the bottom, when Mia needs inspiration from someone who doesn’t pity her for her leg, Zac refuses to let her run and offers her a place to stay. And when Zac refuses another round of treatment, Mia pushes him, convincing him to continue.
The story is realistic; the author, although not a cancer patient as far as I can tell, definitely did her homework. The details of the care and treatment for each was believable, not glossed over for lack of understanding. And most importantly, I got to see and feel the emotions of Zac and Mia throughout their journeys while apart and together.
I highly recommend you read Zac and Mia.
Please allow me to rant.
A while back I read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Many reviews lauded the story, but I gave it one star. You can read my review here. Why so harsh? I read this “cancer book” expecting a story about the cancer patient, her emotions and experiences. I got none of that. In fact, Rachel is a minor character who has simply given up. I could not accept that she, at her age, would not fight her leukemia, a treatment that has a high success rate these days. I was generous to give the book one star.
Why the rant? I am a cancer survivor–acute lymphoblastic leukemia, diagnosed in 1972 when I was three years old. When I read a book about a cancer patient, I expect to learn about the character’s emotions and experiences. I want to see the ups and downs, the denial, the fear, the strength to fight. When an author writes a book to tell the story of a cancer patient, I expect to read about the patient.
I just finished another book that fell short of meeting my expectations: Side Effects, by Amy Goldman Koss. You can read my review here. The book tells the diagnosis and treatment of a 14 y/o girl and her reaction to it. But because the author is not the patient–she’s actually the mother of the cancer patient, the true emotions and experiences of the patient do not come through. The book is more about snarky dialogue between a girl and her family/friends.
Bottom line; if you write a cancer book, either (1) be a patient yourself and tell your story with your own emotions, or (2) be intimately involved with the patient and share the patients emotions–all of them–with your readers. Readers want to feel the emotions of the main character.
A mainstream book that hits the mark is The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green. You can read my review here. I liked this book because we saw the emotions the main characters go through. I wasn’t happy as I read, but that’s because I could feel the same emotions they experienced.
Two lesser known books that I think are worthy of high praise are Touched by Cancer, by Teri Rose and Radiate by Marley Gibson (related post). These stories pull the reader in and share the main character’s emotions and their experiences. If you’re looking for two good (real) cancer stories to read, I suggest both of these.
Please feel free to share your favorite “cancer books” and why you recommend them!