Monday, September 16, 2013

When Good Boobs Turn Bad - Book Review

People are always nagging me encouraging me to turn this blog into a book.   And, you know, if a publisher offered me a fat advance I wouldn't say no, but guess what?

It's too late. The book I would have written has just been published, and it is called,When Good Boobs Turn Bad: A Mammoir by the hilarious Jill Foer Hirsch.

After promising to review her book, I opened it intending to read just the first page.  I wanted to see her writing style, and then I was going to go to sleep.  To be perfectly honest, I've read a lot of bad books and articles about breast cancer, and I was half expecting another snooze-fest.  I'm happy to say I was completely, utterly wrong.   Despite my advanced stage worries, I couldn't put her book down, and Jill, you cost me a night's sleep.  And, considering I take 2 mg of Ativan every night, that's no small feat.

I'm not kidding when I say her book is the best memoir about early stage cancer I've ever read, and also not kidding when I say I'm super jealous that I didn't write it.

She's wry, descriptive, humorous and helpful, all at the same time.  Her stories about dealing with cancer are LOL funny, and she sprinkles anecdotes with  tips on how best to manage breast cancer treatment.  She's both engaging and informative and writes in an accessible, down-to-earth style.  She's included photos of herself at the various stages of treatment, making it seem like it was written by your best friend.  One with unmanageable hair, just like mine yours.

At first, I read with suspicion.  I mean, this chick is hilarious -  and I thought I had the market cornered on cancer humor.  Did she steal from me?   She has my attitude about dealing with breast cancer down pat - that's to plow your way through it with a minimum of tears and a maximum of giggles.  She was determined to find the amusing parts of the experience (and there are many) and focus on those rather than fears and pain.  Naturally, I scoured her book to see if she had stolen any of my jokes or if she had copied my blog because really, can there be two women who laugh about cancer?  Well, apparently there can be.  She's pure original.

She begins with her diagnosis, Stage IIB cancer, and goes on to discuss her treatment, from testing to surgery and on to chemo.  She shares the options available to her and why she made the choices she made. She also regales you with her fashion challenges and the awesome food she got to eat. (That reminds me - bring Jill a casserole, please.  She is brave and strong and deserves your attention.)

She describes the exhaustion that comes with chemo by saying, "Even my fifteen year old cat was less lethargic than I was.  I looked on in awe and wonder as she got up every couple of hours and was able to stretch and change sleeping positions.  You know it's bad when moving at the speed of an old, lazy cat is your goal."   And, OMG, I have thought that about my 14 year old cat many times.

 She describes her flap surgery, which is not "blue skies and fluffy white clouds" and which caused her several complications.  You and I would freak out about having an open sore on your stomach pouring fluids of various colors - but she was grateful because it gave her more writing material.  That's how crazy she is.

I have always believed the best way to get through a frightening, tragic, scary event is with humor.  Jill obviously believes this too.  And, she did what I couldn't do - she wrote my book.

Even though I didn't write it, I believe this book should be given to every women who has a diagnosis of early stage cancer.  Put it in a gift basket with a bedazzling kit for jazzing up those hospital gowns, and a copy of my blog URL to assuage my jealousy.  Not only will this book help a woman know what is coming - I still remember how confusing those early days were -  but it also gives them a guide on how to emotionally manage a scary event with humor.  Anything that helps lighten the load is a good thing, and this book definitely lives up to the statement that "laughter is the best medicine."

Most women do survive a cancer experience and Jill has made it abundantly clear that she expects to be one of them, and her attitude is infectious.  She's currently a year past treatment and doing well enough to write a book, so that's also encouraging.

If you want to see a book written by me, then go buy Jill's book.  It's as close as you'll get. In the meantime, I guess I'll stick to pendants.

When Good Boobs Turn Bad: A Mammoir:  funny, homey, smart, helpful.   (The links will take you straight to buy the book in paperback or kindle.)

This concludes the review of this great book.

(Part II of How to Survive Cancer will be coming soon, I promise)


  1. I still think you should publish your blogs! There's room for more than one story out there! I'd buy it and so would others. So there!

  2. I wasn't able to get the link to cooperate, but it sounds like a wonderful book. Great review.

  3. I agree with "Page Turnings" that you should STILL write a book. Your review of the book was almost as hilarious as the book would be. Yes, we do need more people looking at the lighter side of cancer!

  4. I realize your energy is limited, but have you considered self publishing on kindle by just taking your blog posts and formatting them as an ebook? You wouldn't have to do very much for that, and no need for agents etc. A collection of your posts would make a great book.

  5. People are always looking for someone to relate to or uplift them in some way in times of need. It can never hurt to publish experiences and thoughts on this matter.

  6. I read this book on your recommendation, and enjoyed it, but I still think you should publish what you have done (I preferred your writings). Speaking of which, it's been a few weeks since your last post and I hope that is because you are feeling good...

  7. Ann, only *you* can write *your* book, and as someone else suggested, you've pretty much done so in these blog posts. I read and enjoyed Jill's book but as far as I'm concerned there can never be too many thoughtful books out there on this topic. I do hope you find energy and time to do *your* book.


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