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Il cancro mi ha reso più frivola. Una testimonianza a fumetti
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Il cancro mi ha reso più frivola. Una testimonianza a fumetti

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  311 ratings  ·  54 reviews

a cartoonist examines her experience with breast cancer in an irreverent and humorous graphic memoir.

Paperback, 120 pages
Published 2007 by TEA (first published May 1st 2006)
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I intended to like this graphic novel. I almost feel bad that I didn't. It's about a woman who undergoes cancer treatment at a young age and takes up cartooning during the process to record her experience. I love the title of this book and it conveys a type of coping method that sometimes offends and is often overlooked as healthy: humor. I think it's fair to say that it's difficult to discuss life-threatening illness and Engelberg opens the doors of discourse by making her readers comfortable a ...more
Charlene Mathe
People look at me strangely when I say how much I love this book. Miriam Engelberg left us a wonderful gift in tracing with such realism and wit her day-by-day experience of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. It is unbelievable that cancer proved stronger than this vivacious and funny, not to mention beautiful woman. How is it possible that her memoir makes me laugh out loud and to the point of tears on nearly every page? I guess her book is not for everyone, but if you like (maybe) dark hum ...more
Hannah  Messler
If you are one of these people who's like "comics has to be drawn good also the lettering better be TIGHT" might I suggest you sew yourself into a sack of dicks and huck your dumb carcass in the lake.

This is a very very good read.
Cheryl Klein
This book tracked my own post-cancer-diagnosis thought process beat for beat, from self-blame (did she cause cancer by eating too much cheese? Miriam Engelberg wonders), to worrying that your doomsday thoughts are foreshadowing in the movie of your life, to becoming hopelessly addicted to terrible TV. Either Miriam Engelberg and I have a lot in common, or breast cancer is a completely predictable, universal experience. I feel like she would hope it's the former, just like I do--although I'm sure ...more
I read this immediately after being diagnosed with breast cancer and loved loved loved it. The clumsy drawing style put me off at first but I was quickly drawn into her humor and style. It was the perfect antidote to all those people looking at me with sad eyes and saying gently, "How are you?" Some days I wanted to be as shallow as fingernail polish and this book helped me to feel like that was not only okay but like it was a. . .what? A cool response to a wicked hard time. My daughter, 13 at t ...more
Another breast cancer journey in form of a graphic memoir, alas, this is one that doesn't have a happy ending. I think it's a case of 'the right book at the wrong time' for me. Whilst Miriam Engelberg injects a healthy dose of humour into her drawings and the dialogues / thought processes, the book was certainly overshadowed by the sad fact on page 1 that "the author is survived by her husband and son".

More serious and depressing than Cancer Vixen Miriam Engelberg's account of her breast cancer
You know how whenever you hear about someone getting diagnosed with cancer, it always seems to make them realize what's important and devote their lives to that, and throw themselves into experiencing life at its fullest, and stop worrying about the little things, and love everybody? It seems like it's always something like that. This book is compelling because it presents a counter-example: someone who has none of those experiences... and actually admits it! It's told in a series of cartoons, m ...more
I really wanted to like this more, but so much about it fell completely flat. I really really support people drawing comics just because, even if you aren't super good at it. But I also feel like the more you draw the better you get at it, even if it's just a teeny tiny bit! You don't even have to try! You draw a lot, you get better at what you're doing, even if what you're doing is speech bubbles or repeated patterns or aliens or oncologists. I love atypical drawing/cartooning styles (like Laur ...more
More and more I believe in comics as a very true way to communicate. And, I'm glad I have lived long enough to discover this! Similar to my discover/rediscovery of picture books; so much truth can be in a very small frame! I haven't had cancer myself, and don't know what it in store for me, but after watching and being with some loved ones who have survived, but are now gone, I know that it is so very different for everyone. And though the whole positive attitude thing might be what makes being ...more
Andrew Weiss
First things first: don't let the title or the artwork scare you off. The title, if you can imagine it, is tongue in cheek -- like the rest of the book, it's at once honestly vulnerable, deeply personal, and improbably funny. The artwork, while messy, is as idiosyncratic and as interesting as handwriting. What might seem odd or challenging to read in the first few pages quickly becomes fascinating and subtly communicative, and is just as enjoyable as poring over every jot and tittle of a friend' ...more
Yichen Zhu
This book is mainly about Miriam Engelberg dealing with cancer and how people around her react to the fact that she has cancer. At first, she rejected the idea that she has cancer, then the rejection slowly turned into anger and finally, at the end of the book, she slowly accepted cancer in her life. She also talks about how differently people with cancer and without cancer react when Miriam tells them she has cancer. This book mainly talks about the author's thoughts and how she overcomes probl ...more
Stricken with breast cancer at a disturbingly young age (43), Engelberg turned to cartooning to cope; the resulting work is both powerful and very funny. She starts at the very beginning, while awaiting her diagnosis. The story follows the cancer trail all the way through surgery, chemo, support groups, wigs, the distraction of cartooning, moving house while completely nauseated and the horror of a second diagnosis. In contrast to the heavy subject matter, Engelberg's artwork is naïve to the ext ...more
Would make a good companion to "Wit" by Margaret Edson (who is a much better writer). Not really skilled at drawing but gets her point across. Very existential -- she ends up coping by becoming fixated on tv guide crosswords and "People" magazine. An excerpt:
"I met with a friend who had breast cancer seven years ago. 'Whatever happens, this is a wakeup call for you about how you're living your life.' (Loves to garden, makes crafts, supports women with cancer.) 'Yea, you're right! This is a cha
Yes! I loved reading this book, and I'm passing it along to friends fo sho.

Neurotic, anxious, pessimistic; those qualities don't just disappear with a breast cancer verdict. Patients don't all turn into glowing "appreciate what God has given and focus on the positive" sort of people. And Miriam Engelberg walks the fine line between the pink ribbons and the "cancer sucks" stickers with an honest humor and wit that we can all relate to. This cartoon memoir has the feel of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Schaafsma
At a glance, a lot of people didn't seem to like this book, but I did! The drawing is not great, not "professional" or impressive, but herein lies its strength for me, in a way; she makes herself accessible to us, she is not above us, she is one of us. The book catalogues her breast cancer.. and finally, she dies in 2006. Grim? Well, yes, but she is often very funny, and unfailingly honest in her wish to escape through tv, crossword puzzles…. anything not to think about it… and escapes through h ...more
This is a "graphic memoir" told in a series of cartoons about one woman's experience with breast cancer. While certainly not a normally hilarious subject, Miriam Engleberg has made it a very human, touching journey, which is by turns hysterically funny, very knowing, and very poignant. I am considering doing a graphic memoir of my own and am looking through a few others to see how different people expressed themselves. Miriam was not a trained artist, but her cartoons are extremely effective and ...more
This is so darkly hilarious, it feels both cathartic and sinful to laugh while reading it (and you will). Engelberg refuses to show her experience of cancer as anything but cosmically-ironic and unromantically, devastatingly ridiculous.
When Miriam Engelberg finds a lump in her breast, she is faced with the most frightening diagnosis of her life: cancer.

As she undergoes surgery, radiation, and chemo, Miriam experiences illness as she has never before experienced it. She cannot help but to view her life differently; cancer has given her a new context.

Honest and open, Engelberg’s memoir takes readers on an unforgettable journey. If nothing else, her revelations will force readers to reconsider how they treat people who are ill, c
This is a memoir in comic strip form about a woman going through breast cancer and its treatments. I found it to be poignant, funny, sad, and interesting. I generally don't enjoy graphic novels and don't enjoy sad books, but this was different. I really cared deeply about the author by the end of the book and I felt that she did a good job of communicating what she has been through in her funny comic strip vignettes. I don't know if people who have had cancer would appreciate this book or not, b ...more
Loved this book. You may have to be in the club to get it....
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
I've never had cancer and I've never known anyone well who has had cancer, but, just as a regular person, I found this book genuine, funny, sad, clever, dark, and (contrary to the title) a little deep. Engelberg tells the story of her sudden immersion into the world of the cancer victim and the cancer survivor with painful honesty. It is, despite the awfulness of the cancer, a funny story, too. It's the truthfulness I liked best about it, pulling away all the made-for-tv-movie sweetness that see ...more
Dawn Rutherford
Cranky perspective on cancer treatment.
I cried in the middle of Borders when I first picked up Miriam's memoir. After working with so many women going through cancer diagnosis and treatment, I knew how it could completely gut a person's sense of humor. By laughing at cancer, she showed that cancer does not rob you of everything.

This book is an absolute gift to anyone who has cancer, loves someone who has cancer, or who works with people who have cancer. It really helps keep things in perspective.

Bless her for writing this; may Miria
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary K
Like many others, I felt pretty guilty for not liking a book written about the authors journey through cancer. I realize that writing comics can be an extremely therapeutic act, and so I'm certainly glad this book was written for her sake-- however, it just didn't do it for me. i'm a huge fan of self-deprecating humor, but it's really hard to find enjoyable when the author has fucking cancer. not to mention, it kind of reminded me of dilbert.
Lucky enough, I've not had cancer, nor have I had anyone close to me experience it either. Still, the title of this book immediately got my attention - and I'm glad for it. The drawings are basic, but the message is honest and often pretty funny. Engelberg is the antithesis of Lance Armstrong, in terms of cancer attitude, in the best possible ways. An enjoyable read, and a book to keep in mind in case the Big C occurs in my life in the future.
Tan Yi Han
How does it feel to get cancer?

Read this book to find out!

Touching, sincere and oh so human! Through her honest portrayal of her feelings when she was diagnosed with cancer, Miriam shows that it's ok not to be strong and positive all the time. We're just human. Sometimes we can feel lousy. Many times we search for answers. And at the moments when we hear the answers, that what makes life worthwhile. =)
Lauren Kinney
This was definitely a memoir in comics and not a graphic novel. At times, I wished that the author had fleshed it out a little and showed more of a story arc that situated her cancer in her overall life, or that it were more of a narrative and less of a monolog. It read like a compilation of short comics. That said, I found it clever and funny, and I enjoyed it.
I think my expectations for graphic novels have really grown lately, and that's probably the only reason I found this a little underwhelming. That plus I read the whole book in about fifteen minutes so it felt like it was all over too quick. But it's funny and sweet and very likeable. I'd recommend reading a few strips at a time so you can appreciate it more!
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