Alice Hoffman's Survival Lessons is a tiny, beautiful gem. While I have eagerly devoured all of Hoffman's fiction, I was not aware that she had written a non-fiction book or that she had survived a life-threatening illness.
David (Jesse Plemons) is having a rough year. He’s a comedy writer pushing 30 whose pilot wasn’t picked up. His boyfriend just dumped him. And now he’s moving home with his parents, to help take care of his mother (Molly Shannon) while she dies of cancer.
Mia, "Rabbit", Hayes is a fighter and the very heart of her adoring family. But so is the cancer slowly taking over her body. Rabbit, however, refuses to acknowledge that her diagnosis has just rapidly plummeted or share the news with her 12 year old daughter, Juliet. Neither of them is ready to say goodbye. Rabbit's family is amazing, particularly her strong tough Irish "Mammy" Molly, who fights like a tiger for her daughter's life. Rabbit's father, Jack, and her siblings, Grace and Davey, are believably drawn characters.
I must have been hiding under a rock, because I had not heard of Tig Notaro before she appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to talk about her newly released book. I'm Just a Person mostly revolves around what happened to her in the year 2012, but what I should actually say is what DIDN'T happen to her that year. Just in that year, she was diagnosed with an aggressive bacterial infection called c.Diff, from which she almost died.
How do I begin discussing this book? It’s breathtaking, painful, haunting, and beautiful all at the same time. Paul Kalanithi attended Stanford and Yale to become a doctor trained in neurological surgery and neuroscience, all in the hopes of gaining an understanding of death, and choosing a much more difficult path to be able to treat the dying. As he’s just beginning his career and getting incredible job offers throughout the country, he is diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at thirty-six years of age.
When Ron Currie’s love tells him she needs space and that he should leave, he does. He moves to the Caribbean where he is supposed to work on his next novel and wait patiently for her to request his return. That’s not what happens. He spends his days drinking heavily, cohabitating with a young college drop-out, and writing the completely wrong novel. Upon his failed suicide, Curry realizes that he can just disappear; and he does. But just for a while. And when he resurfaces he finds that his life, or rather, his death, has taken a decidedly unanticipated turn.
Hazel has been hovering on brink of death for over 2 years. At 12 she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and just when all was lost she was entered into a drug trial which holds the cancer at bay, never curing her, but keeping it from killing her. But she knows her time is limited. Because of the disease she cannot go to school and mostly sits around the house reading and watching America's Next Top Model.
While I’m a little late to the game in reading Pausch’s The Last Lecture, I’m glad I finally got there. Pausch gave his last lecture at Carnegie Mellon, where he was a computer science professor.
Best friends since the age of 3, Sam (Samantha) and Jesse now in high school are experiencing many changes, some good and some not so good. The good: after years of being best friends Sam and Jesse are falling in love and their bond is stronger than ever. The bad: Jesse has been diagnosed with a rare treatment resistant form of cancer. Jesse is dying.
Helen's long-time friend, Nicola has terminal cancer. The doctors have done all they can but Nicola is determined to try alternative therapies. She asks Helen if she can stay with her for 3 weeks while she undergoes treatment at the Theodore Institute. Helen agrees but quickly discovers that she may have taken on more than she can handle. She also suspects that the Theodore Institute is a fraud. Helen's friendship is severely tested by Nicola's belief that the Institute can cure her cancer and by the physical demands of caring for her.