Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Blog Tour/Review: A Series of Catastrophes and Miracles by Mary Elizabeth Williams

About A Series of Catastrophes and Miracles

• Hardcover: 304 pages
• Publisher: National Geographic; 1 edition (April 26, 2016)

A wry, witty account of what it is like to face death—and be restored to life.

After being diagnosed in her early 40s with metastatic melanoma—a "rapidly fatal" form of cancer—journalist and mother of two Mary Elizabeth Williams finds herself in a race against the clock. She takes a once-in-a-lifetime chance and joins a clinical trial for immunotherapy, a revolutionary drug regimen that trains the body to vanquish malignant cells. Astonishingly, her cancer disappears entirely in just a few weeks. But at the same time, her best friend embarks on a cancer journey of her own—with very different results. Williams's experiences as a patient and a medical test subject reveal with stark honesty what it takes to weather disease, the extraordinary new developments that are rewriting the rules of science—and the healing power of human connection.

I was interested in reading this book since my sister had cancer removed from her body in January of this year (2016). I learned quite a bit in that process and was interested to compare the differences and similarities. The similarities are there--the questions of why this is happening, starting out with zero knowledge of cancer and quickly learning, feeling like a lab rat at times, and the incredible job the doctors and nurses do. Cancer is a tough condition to deal with and there are so many different kinds that there's not one protocol and there's quite a bit of guesswork involved. The author was able to get into a trial which worked rapidly for her, so that was a definite blessing! She gets raw at times and doesn't hold back, which is refreshing to read in a book like this. 

The main difference is that the author doesn't attribute any of her healing to God, but rather to science. Science certainly plays a role, but in the case of my sister, faith did as well. There was also a good deal of swearing, which I don't personally enjoy reading, including the "f" word, which was used quite a bit. 

The author did a great job explaining cancer and the different treatments that are available in layman's terms so you won't feel lost or like you're reading a textbook. She also shares experiences she has with other women who are dealing with cancer as well and how important those relationships were to her. Cancer sucks! Overall, I found this book to be an interesting read. It's a story of hope and I'm glad that things turned out well for this author and her family!

My Rating=3 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review 

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About Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior staff writer for award-winning Salon.com whose columns are regularly among the top viewed, commented on, shared, and cited as the best of the week. The "Lab Rat" series on her clinical trial was nominated for the 2012 Online Journalism Award for Commentary, and her essay on receiving a melanoma diagnosis is in the Harper anthology The Moment, an Entertainment Weekly "Must List" pick—alongside essays by Elizabeth Gilbert, Jennifer Egan, and Dave Eggers. She is the author of Gimme Shelter: Ugly Houses, Cruddy Neighborhoods, Fast Talking Brokers, and Toxic Mortgages: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream. A starred Booklist selection, Gimme Shelter was called "poignant and funny" (Kirkus), "a must-read" (New York Daily News), "hilariously evocative" (Time Out Kids) and "compelling" (Publisher's Weekly). She lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.

Find out more about her at her website.

Tour Schedule:
Wednesday, April 27th: The Discerning Reader
Wednesday, April 27th: Bibliotica
Friday, April 29th: Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, May 3rd: Stranded in Chaos
Wednesday, May 4th: Back Porchervations
Tuesday, May 10th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Thursday, May 12th: Patient #1
Wednesday, May 18th: Booby and the Beast
Thursday, May 19th: A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, May 31st: Mel’s Shelves
TBD: Darn Good Lemonade


Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I hope your sister is doing well and that her cancer is completely gone!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.

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