Radiation Diaries: Cancer, Memory and Fragments of a Life in Words
This frank, refreshingly unpretentious book is remarkably true to its title: it records the day-by-day struggles of a well-read, accomplished writer and academic who is facing grueling radiation treatments for recurrent cancer. The author seems to be writing mostly to preserve her own sense of identity and sanity, rather than with an eye on publication, and thus the entries often read like shorthand “notes to self,” jottings of a cultivated mind trapped in a state of distress, insomnia and discomfort (as well as frustration due to the bureaucracy of Britain’s National Health Service). As such, they reveal brutally honest details about the physical indignities of being treated for cancer. However, these mundane details are illuminated, sometimes with dazzling effect, by remembered quotations from the author’s favorite writers: Jane Austen, John Milton, Dylan Thomas, and many others. The result is an engaging yet self-aware chronicle of the mind’s astonishing resilience in the face of bodily degradation. Cancer patients and survivors will relate to much of this book and will find plenty of sympathy and inspiration in its pages, but general readers too are likely to appreciate Todd’s openness and keen sensibility.
After editing at City Book Review for a few years, I took up the duties of editorial assistant, which include assigning books for review, posting reviews to our various sites, and nagging reviewers for things. In my non-nagging time, I’m a gamer, artist, writer, and notorious black thumb/bane of plants. My answer to every book-related question: read Octavia Butler.
|Author||Janet M. Todd|
|Page Count||208 pages|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|
|Category||Biographies & Memoirs|