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C: Because Cowards Get Cancer Too
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C: Because Cowards Get Cancer Too

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  264 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Shortly before his 44th birthday, John Diamond received a call from the doctor who had removed a lump from his neck. Having been assured for the previous 2 years that this was a benign cyst, Diamond was told that it was, in fact, cancerous. Suddenly, this man who'd until this point been one of the world's greatest hypochondriacs, was genuinely faced with mortality. And wha ...more
Published April 8th 1999 by Vermilion (first published 1998)
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I’ve read several memoirs of cancer survivors, and several more advice-type books about how to deal with cancer, and (as a fellow cancer survivor) this is the one I’d recommend. I read Lance Armstrong’s book, and I loved it, but I'd recommend this first. He captures so eloquently what it means to be uncertain about how long you’re going to live and how it feels to deal with people who just don’t know what to do with you, and he’s such a beautiful and funny writer about everything that happens th ...more
"This is a funny and moving account of a man's fight with cancer (which he subsequently lost). John Diamond was a (London) Times journalist who wrote weekly columns covering his battle. I found the book sad but uplifting (as a lot of these books do, they end up portraying endurance and - despite the title - courage, in a way which manages to avoid mawkishness)."
John Diamond tells us in no uncertain times what it is like to live with, and to be dying from cancer. It is a horrible irony that someone so articulate should be struck with cancer of the tongue therefore leaving writing as his primary outlet. The disease does not dampen his dry wit so prepare to be entertained as well as educated about the 'C' word.
Interesting, well-written and frightening. Stirred up my emotions knowing the author died but he writes with humour dealing with a difficult subject.
Shortly before his 44th birthday, John Diamond received a call from the doctor who had removed a lump from his neck. Having been assured for the previous 2 years that this was a benign cyst, Diamond was told that it was, in fact, cancerous. Suddenly, this man who'd until this point been one of the world's greatest hypochondriacs, was genuinely faced with mortality. And what he saw scared the wits out of him. Out of necessity, he wrote about his feelings in his TIMES column and the response was s ...more
i didn't even have time to move this from my "to-read" shelf to the "currently-reading" shelf. i got this book for christmas - i tried to avoid reading it during the holidays because i knew it would depress me. one night i couldn't resist any longer and i read it in 2 hours. i should probably preface this by saying that i harbor a strange fascination with the story of nigella lawson/john diamond. i've loved nigella and her shows for years, and recently learned about the death of her mother, sist ...more
I took full advantage of a train trip to Bedford, and then a very hot evening, to read this excellent book in a day. But despite that, I can’t give it more stars because a couple of years ago I read an even better one! I found "The Luxury of Time" by Jane and Mike Tomlinson to be a far more emotive and rollercoaster read.

The comparison, for me, is; male, self-confessed hypochondriac and largely self-centred versus female, incredibly unselfish, incredibly determined (and hence very motivating). T
This memoir is extremely well written; funny, but not in a way that made me laugh out loud. Diamond's humor is dry, black stuff since it covers his brush with one cancer treatment after the next, each one leaving him less intact. As a columnist and journalist, Diamond does a great job of documenting his experience, taking a step back from the panic of what he is going through to convey what cancer is like with both humanity and a morbid curiosity. This book gave me even more sympathy and insight ...more
Much of what is written in the cancer memoir genre is all about how having hope will save your life. Diamond does not believe this, and tells it how it is. Writing this ten years after reading, I don't remember details about the book, but I do remember it changed everything that I thought I knew about the cancer experience, and made me that much more compassionate for those who do not "Pollyanna" their way through cancer.
A brutally honest account of the author's battle with throat cancer. He doesn't look for sympathy, but details his feelings as he struggles with the medical profession to get on top of the disease. Educational, funny, reflective, this is not what I would call an enjoyable book (especially when you know the outcome, although he was still alive when I read it) but one that I would recommend for an upfront story about the big C.
How does someone write such a funny book about dying of cancer? But John does. He really attacks the concept of "bravely fighting" the disease - the concept of a hypochondriac's worst fears coming true - and his desire to moan, complain and give in. Excellent book. Also amusing the competition he feels between himself and Ruth Picardie (who's book I have also read and reviewed)
Dec 04, 2013 Alison added it
wonderful writing, witty and truthful. Times journalist writes about progress of his throat cancer for the year 1998. it killed Feb 01 and he continued with more unputdownable columns and other writing. the cancer brought out some extraordinary and wonderful writing.
Joy Whyte
I first read this book in 1998, when it was published. Rereading it now, particularly with the knowledge that John Diamond died in 2001, I found it - again - an extraordinarily moving account of the author's experience of cancer.
Ian Fiddes
8/10. Despite the awful subject matter this is an easy read and very funny in places (yes, really!).
Louise Holman
Even though you know the ending this book still manages to offer hope. Much missed author.
Nat De-Freitas
Heartbreaking, honest, sensitive - a great book by a great writer. He is sorely missed.
Sue Fray
Funny, heartbreaking,un-put-downable and so re-readable.
Alison Horton
Read it all in one go-harrowing!
Ginni Brinkley

Very sad, very well written. Made me relieved not to have known anyone getting cancer as little as ten or fifteen years ago.
from my 2002 notebook: both funny and terrifying about the humiliation and exposure that his terminal cancer causes.
Finally got round to reading: dry, sad in the way Diamond himself defines the word and full of pathos as the ending is now too well known. Strangely (and selfishly) it also made me nostalgic for the late nineties through the tone, language and contemporary cultural references....and therefore, necessarily, dated.
Mike Ward
A challenging but enjoyable (if enjoyable is the right word) take on one man's diagnosis and treatment for cancer - full review here:
Lisa Frame
Read from the perspective of a nurse working with patients on a daily basis with Diamonds diagnosis and health crisis-I found this record of his intensely personal journey enlightening and very touching.
Mandy Downie
I understand a lot better now,before i read this book i was really struggling to understand my mum's death through cancer,this book has helped where no doctors have been able to . Really well written.
UK columnist writes about the progression of his throat cancer and the treatments he endures. An interesting if not entirely enlightening account.
Wifey read this and wants to share with me. Also I like Nigella.
Kristine McKean
If you struggle with chronic illness, I recommend this.
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John Diamond was a British broadcaster and journalist.
In 1997, Diamond was diagnosed with throat cancer. He wrote about his experiences with cancer in his newspaper column, for which he won the prestigious What The Papers Say award. In 1999 he was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for his book C: Because Cowards Get Cancer Too.... A BBC documentary was filmed for Inside Story which followed
More about John Diamond...
Snake Oil And Other Preoccupations The CIA and the Culture of Failure: U.S. Intelligence from the End of the Cold War to the Invasion of Iraq John Diamond Despite the Best Intentions: Why Racial Inequality Thrives in Good Schools Medicine and Beyond (The Diamond Reports Book 1)

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