Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Novels with a Cancer Theme

I love to read, and before the vision problems of the last 6 months I read a book at least every 2 days. I like most kinds of fiction, mysteries, thrillers, historical, chick-lit, but not science fiction. I just never really got into it. Much of today's women's fiction deals with the topic of sister hood: women bonding as a group over a common interest as seen in The Knitting Club, or a group of friends reaching out to new people in The Jane Austen Book Club. Within these books there is often a character who has dealt with a major life-change or tragedy: loss of a child or husband, fired from a job, life-threatening illness of herself or a loved one. It also always seems that if the woman has cancer, it's breast cancer. I wonder if that's because it gets so much attention, or that it's a cancer most women understand. The following books all have cancer as a strong theme in the story. From funny to heart wrenching, you should be able to find a story you'll enjoy in some way.
Talk Before Sleep by Elizabeth Berg is about Ruth and Ann, friends who meet in their late 30s and become strong friends. Ruth encourages Ann to look at her life and evaluate where she is headed and if she is happy. The friendship changes dynamically when one of the women is diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. Although the outcome of the story is tragically inevitable, the telling of the strong friendship between the two, and the other women in their lives who jump in to help is one of love and hope.
Live a Little by Kim Green is the story of Raquel Rose, a suburban housewife and mother of two teenagers in Northern California, who is diagnosed with breast cancer. But wait! As suddenly as Raquel is diagnosed with cancer, she is just as suddenly undiagnosed. It was all a clerical mishap. As relieving as this is, life is not as simple as it seems. Raquel chooses to delay telling her family and lets the mistake build into a full-blown lie. One day her husband, kids, sister, and mother were all ignoring her and taking her for granted. The next, she was pampered and noticed. Who would want to give that up? The concept of this story sounds offensive to many of us, and we've all seen these people on the news who pretend to have cancer to get attention, but in this case what could be a horrifying tale becomes a comedy of errors and miscommunication. Raquel is funny character, who says the things many of us are thinking, but never voice aloud.
Seaview Inn by Sherryl Woods is a romance about Hannah Matthews, a breast cancer survivor, who lost her mother to the same disease. Hannah is a strong, capable executive in New York. Her aging grandmother in Florida runs the Seaview Inn, which has been in the family for several generations. Also in Florida is Hannah's college age, unmarried, pregnant daughter, so off Hannah goes, to see her daughter and encourage her grandmother to sell the inn. While there, her high school crush returns to set up his medical practice. I'm sure you can see what's coming! This is a nice, quick read that doesn't harp on the cancer, but talks about survival as part of everyday life.
GIVEAWAY question of the day... You MUST answer the question in the Comments for THIS POST to be eligible. You also must have a way for me to contact you when you win. You do not have to have a blog to enter, and you can be from anywhere in the world!
Which of these books most appeals to you? Why? Do you think you will actually get the book and read it?

32 comments:

mub said...

I think "Live a Little" sounds like it might be a good one. Your synopsis makes me really wonder what her family thinks when they find out it was a lie!

Smilingsal said...

Seaview Inn by Sherryl Woods is the one I'd choose. I'm an aging grandmother who lives in Florida, so I can relate. lol I do not think that I will get it because I have so many books to read, but if it were given to me, of course, I'd read it.

Hope you're having a good week.

mannequin said...

I love to read so to tell you the truth, both of those books look appealing to me.
I can imagine the funny 'scapades that must ensue with Live A Little and yet Seaview Inn....I 'll tell you a secret. If I'm not reading tech manuals in the bubblebath, it's romance novels.
I have just ordered three new books so it's highly unlikely I would BUY these. I only purchase books that I know I'll be rereading. I may very well go to the library though!

mannequin said...

Elizabeth.... I've blogged about the giveaway today.

http://fracturedtoy.blogspot.com/2008/10/evil-overlord.html

G'Day friend!

Kathy said...

Wellll, as a mother of ten children (none of whom are bratty teenagers, by the way) I often am overlooked and give myself away in all directions. "Live A Little" would be an interesting book to me for that reason...how would life be if those around me suddenly started pampering me? I checked for availability at my library and it's not listed, probably because it is a recent publication. So, then I checked availability at Paperbook Swap.com and I put it on my wishlist. If someone puts it up to swap, I'll be notified. In the meantime, I'm going to request it from interlibrary loan. Some other institution will have it. Thanks for the book recommendations. The other one I would read is Talk Before Sleep. I am curious as to how the friendship changes after the illness is diagnosed.
Kathy
bigfamily8 (at) yahoo (dot) com

CanCan said...

"Live a Little" appeals to me the most. I probably won't go out and buy it, but if I notice it in the library (or in someone else's house) I will definitely borrow it!
It reminds me of the scandal about the Hillsong guy who pretended to have cancer for a while.

I also wanted to tell you about 2 good lotions (re: your love for Curel), "Gloves in a Bottle" and "Skin MD Natural". I can put you in touch with the PR person for those companies if you would like a sample.

onlycancan at hotmail dot com

Neabear said...

All of them sound interesting to read. It was hard to pick just one. But if I were to list them, I would probably read "Seaview Inn" first. I will have to keep that one in mind when I want to read a new book and then go to the library to pick it up. This book seems to be up my alley in the types of books I usually read.

Bridget said...

Oh I really want to read Live a Little. It sound perfect for a nice beach read. I love to laugh and since I have some similarities to the character, it should be fun. I might just go out and buy it today.

Thanks for the reviews!

Katy Lin :) said...

Seaview Inn & Live a Little appeal to me the most. I will definitely read them. I've added them to my Shelfari TBR shelf :) (that's how I keep track, there are so many great books out there that I want to get my hands on!)

Coloradolady said...

Elizabeth, All of these books sound like they would be a good read. I think I would read "Live a Little". For the simple fact, when I was in High School one of my friends broke up with her boyfriend and did just that thing. She said she had a brain tumor and this went on for weeks before finally word got to her parants. I think it would be a good read to compare the two, one real life, one fiction.
But I would most likely read all of these.

Ruby (Mouth) said...

I would love to read Seaview Inn. It sounds like a book I would enjoy with a heartfelt theme and a great ending. It also sounds like a book to pass on to my mother, who loves these kind of stories.

Thnks!!!

angelleslament @ gmail.com

princessesindisguise said...

Live a Little sounds great! :)

~K
princessesindisguise(at)yahoo(dot)com

Becky Welch said...

thanks for stopping by yesterday on the BATW tour! I will have to come back to see you!

La Memster said...

WOW! All of those books sound SOOO good... I'll have to look them all up in the library next time I have a chance. As for most appealing to me.... THat's a hard choice but I'm very interested to learn about the bond of friendship that's strengthened in Talk Before Sleep. It reminds me alot of my own mother who became friends with one of my teachers who was diagnosed with cancer when I was in 2nd grade. Mom stood by her side as a constant strength until her death about 5-6 years later. It was a hard loss on us all but filled with wonderful memories!

Nathalie Brault said...

I would like Seaview Inn because It seems light and hearty. I don't like heavy material since I'm a depressive type so I tend to like real story but on the light hearted a bit funny kinda books. You know what I mean? An dthis one seems right up my alley, actually I hear it calling me right now. Hihihi!! By the way you describe those very well. Hope you're doing fine today.

Zen Ventures said...

Elizabeth Berg does have cool novels. Have you ever tried listening to Audiobooks?

lindanuts said...

I WOULD ENJOY 'LIVE A LITTLE'. IT IS JUST QUIRKY ENOUGH TO APPEAL. I LIKE STORIES WITH A COMICAL SLANT AND I ESPECIALLY LIKE CHARACTERS THAT SPEAK THEIR MINDS. HONESTY VS. UNTRUTHS--SOUNDS LIKE AN OXYMORON IN THIS CASE!
I DO BELIEVE I WILL CHECK MY LOCAL LIBRARY FOR THIS BOOK. AND PASS IT ON TO MY MOTHER AS SHE ENJOYS THE SAME BOOKS I READ.

Nancy said...

Seaview Inn sounds good to me. I like books about overcoming obstacles and the strength that comes in the journey. A little romance never hurts either! I have been too busy lately to finish the Nora Roberts trilogy I am working on but I will file the title away and try to read it later. It sounds like a good read.

jeanne @ Inspiring Ideas said...

Live a Little sounds like a quick, fun read and a little off my beaten path. Insightful. Maybe irreverent. I probably won't buy it, but pick it up at the library if I see it. I have VERY little time to read an consider it a rare treat! Thanks for your giveaway and congrats on your milestone!

windycindy said...

The "Seaview Inn" is the one I would most enjoy reading. I like the positiveness of it and the survival aspect. Yes, I would get this book because I have friends who are breast cancer survivors! Thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Ronda's Rants said...

I think the last one appeals the most to me...it seems lighthearted and I like the idea of the Florida setting!

Life on Bonnie Lane said...

I think I would like Seaview Inn the best because it sounds like even after surviving breast cancer, perhaps even minus a breast, a single woman still finds love! It sounds like the most fun book of the three, and I just might look it up at the local library. The other books sound good too, especially the one about the woman being misdiagnosed!

Kady
kady_39@yahoo.com

Justine said...

I think the Sherryl Woods book appeals to me the most, probably because it sounds the least depressing. I've also read some of her other books and like her writing.

Live a Little... I don't know. I'm intrigued by it, but disgusted at the same time. I think I'll see if there are any used copy of these at Betterworldbooks.com

Justine :o )

RobynsOnlineWorld said...

I think I would like Live a Little. I have seen similar things happen online with people that pretend they die or are really sick and I am curious as to the thought process behind the whole thing.

Virginia said...

Talk Before Sleep sounds interesting and inspiring.

Justine said...

Hey girl, I just ordered Seaview Inn!!!!!!!

Justine :o )

janet said...

Elizabeth,

I used to read a book every couple of days before i discovered blogging. I like to think it has saved me money, hehe! I think I would read "Talk Before Sleep" and maybe I will look for it soon. Is it old enough to show up at Annies?

Thanks for your comments about my fireplace and yes, yours is similar ( I won't say as ugly, just similar) and I really want to paint it, to clean it up if nothing else.
It has been an annoyance for 17 long years!

Janet

~Tara said...

I would be interested in "Talk Before Sleep"...though it sounds like it's a sad ending story, I'd love to read about how 2 friends cope with one's illness and get thru the struggle. Being one in a group of 5 extremely close girlfriends since middle school, I'm sure at some point cancer could affect one of us and it would be nice to read how 2 friends make it thru....

blueviolet said...

They all sound really rewarding and/or entertaining but if I was picking one to read first I would most likely pick up the Seaview Inn one and that's purely because the characters remind me of myself, my own college-aged daughter and my mom. And yes, I think I will actually go to the library and look for these. I love reading!
doot65{at}comcast[dot]net
Elizabeth

noreen said...

I would either one if I found it in my library (I rarley buy books, but gets tone from the library). I inhale book, I think if booth were in front of me I would pick Seaview first, not sure why just a mood
:)

PinkDaisyGirl said...

Live a Little appeals to me the most because ultimately there is no cancer. I would read the book because I love to read.

p.s. My mom is a breast cancer survivor.

Jennifer said...

I'd definetly read "Live a Little". Out of the two books I'm assuming it to contain more dialogue between it's characters, something I've been craving lately. I also love a good laugh.