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Cancer Vixen: A True Story

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  869 ratings  ·  159 reviews
The groundbreaking graphic memoir that inspires breast cancer patients to fight backand do so with style.

“What happens when a shoe-crazy, lipstick-obsessed, wine-swilling, pasta-slurping, fashion-fanatic, about-to-get-married big-city girl cartoonist with a fabulous life finds . . . a lump in her breast?” That’s the question that sets this powerful, funny, and poignant g
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Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by Pantheon (first published September 26th 2006)
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Melki
"I love you." Three little words a woman longs to hear.
"It's on sale!" Not bad either.
"You have cancer." No. Nobody wants to hear that.

Breast cancer is one of the things women fear most. It's not only that you can freakin' die from it. There's the possible disfigurement, losing your hair from the chemo, the worry that no one will ever find you attractive again.

With her wedding day drawing near, Marisa's doctor discovers a lump in her breast and sends her spiraling down a rabbit hole full of fea
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Susan H.
1) It feels weird to rate someone's cancer memoir.

2) Essentially, it's a real-life sexandthecity-type fairy tale, but with a really great and detailed account, in graphic novel form, of one woman's experience with diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Her cartoon drawings of the cancer cells are pretty great, and the way she relates the details of ongoing treatment is probably very helpful for a lot of women in a similar boat.

2a) I like fairy tales. I like graphic novels. Not a fan of Sex a
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Lee
What an amazing book!! I was so thankful when another BC friend brought this to me when I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 35. Powerful in the sense that it is in full color, and there were definitely days after being diagnosed with cancer that I didn't feel so colorful. The author, who also is a cartoonist for The New Yorker and other publications, tells her journey through cancer diagnosis and treatment. After reading this, I felt better in that I am not alone in my experience. I loved the ...more
Dave Riley
There's some great panel story telling in parts of this graphic novel. Inventive. Engaging. Funny. And while the story is a important chronicle I found this 'memoir' of Marchetto's battle with breast cancer self indulgent and egocentric. It was like a 'Sex in the City' episode that played upon so many New York caricatures. I suppose thats' how the literati lives -- food, fashion, dating, psychiatry, Kabala -- in the Big Apple, but how we poor minions supposed to relate to that lifestyle?

We get e
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Pascale
This book was recommended to me by a Comics Agent, as being “in my style.” OK. It so happened that I had never heard of this cartoon memoir about the author’s experience with breast cancer before. Finding it for $1 on a clearance shelf at Bed, Bath and Body was like, serendipity.
Things I liked: the frank, courageous narrative of the emotions, stress, pain, etc. the author goes through.
Things I hated: the fact that some people (the author) make it in the cartoon world, -such as being a cartooni
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David Schaafsma
For those of you of of my friends curious (and brave enough to ask) whether I have cancer or are otherwise sick: No, I do not have cancer or anything else life-threatening, as far as I know, thanks for your concern. I am reading as many stories of physical and psychological and neurological health as I can, to see how they navigate this tough terrain, personally and aesthetically and narratively. I don't much like this woman, a New Yorker cartoonist from the city, but the work is good and not se ...more
Curlita
Mar 20, 2007 Curlita rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all women & fans of graphic novels
Shelves: 2007
It's cool to see graphic novels becoming mainstream. This one is written and drawn by a cartoonist for the New Yorker and Glamour. It chronicles her experience with breast cancer; the fact that she uses illustrations gives it a whole different impact than if the tale had been strictly narrative. The reader gets a sense, first, of what her life is like (life as a New Yorker, her friends, her family, her adorably drawn and characterized fiance) and then adds the impact of the breast cancer. The st ...more
Sam
I could not bring myself to like or even sympathize with the main character. She is a wealthy, privileged woman who doesn't need health insurance to pay her bills and is more concerned with losing her hair than with getting well.
Ellen Johnson
this is exactly what it is like to have cancer. IF you are a new Yorker who cares more about shoes than anything else and has a millionaire boyfriend who pays for all your medical expenses and marries you in the end.
Chris
What happens when a cartoonist is diagnosed with breast cancer three weeks before her wedding? She writes and draws about her entire experience. I found myself completely enveloped in this story. The only graphic novels I've read in the past have all been memoirs, and I've loved them; there is something about adding artwork to words that brings things more to life. For anyone who knows or loves someone with cancer, this is a realistic look at what happens from diagnosis to your last radiation tr ...more
Lisa
I loved reading this graphic novel (my first). The drawings were great but the story is what I enjoyed. I loved Marisa's relationship with her husband and mother. The graphic novel was the perfect way to tell her story of cancer and the internal thoughts she was having toward her cancer, her body, her friends, etc. Reading this book helped me understand more about what happens during chemotherapy and the thought process of the individual going through the entire process of diagnosis, surgery, ch ...more
Mark Schlatter
This is the story of a narcissistic, fashion obsessed, forty-something in New York and her discovery that she has breast cancer just a short time before her wedding to an Italian restauranteur. Save for one appeal factor (which I'll get to in a minute), this graphic novel has nothing that I should be interested in.

Regardless, I loved this work. Marchetto's voice is so strong and her cartooning - though rough at times - is so compelling that I could not help but enjoy the read. It's not that Mar
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Stephanie
I have read several graphic novels in the past year, and many of them have been memoirs. This story, about a fabulous New York cartoonist who dons equally as fabulous shoes, chronicles her year spent kicking cancer's ass. The cover image really depicts the personality of Marisa - she deals with her fears, her upcoming wedding, and her career through her magical storytelling and imagery. I really felt as though I came to know Marisa through her journey and I think this would be a great book for s ...more
Jenna
I'm kinda torn about how to rate this book. I was very drawn into the story, as I quickly read it in a day and a half. I felt a lot of sympathy for the character as she went through her journey of diagnosis and treatment, including her dealings with her friends and family, her ruminations on how and why this is happening to her and the long-term effect of this on her life. She made herself very human and accessible.

The part I struggle with is that she is writing from such a position of privilege
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Kats
An honest yet humorous account of this talented cartoonist's breast cancer journey. Think Carrie Bradshaw having a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation all in one year, but obviously her main concerns are still the shoes she wears to chemo appointments, the other New York City women ogling her rich fiance, and what her hair looks like.

I'm sure this would not appeal to readers with a more aggressive cancer / less hopeful prognosis / lack of rich parents or boy-friend shelling out for expensive treatm
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Kate
Apr 26, 2008 Kate added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
I guess it was unrealistic to expect more than lukewarm Glamour-grade aphorisms from this colorful and sassy graphic memoir, but when I heard that it was the new wave in cancer memoirs I expected some degree of emotional depth. I guess I should've read it when it first came out, since now it's established--perhaps thanks to this book--that you can be faaabulous while losing hair and enduring all of the other indignities of cancer treatment. At the moment, however, I found myself wanting some hea ...more
Liza
Thoughts: Perhaps the reason that I can describe a book about breast cancer as funny is because the book isn’t all about cancer: it’s really about Marisa’s life while she happens to have cancer. In between the chemotherapy trips, we get to see Marisa’s love life, her friendships, her career struggles, and her unapologetic love for makeup, clothes, and shoes. Much of the humor Cancer Vixen revolves around “girly” clichés, such as Marisa wearing expensive pumps to the hospital to get chemo and doi ...more
Tai
Marisa is an excellent cartoonist and her work brings her story of surviving breast cancer to life. Funniest part: She wore Dior lipstick and Christian Louboutins to her first chemo treatment! Best. Diva. Ever.
John Marino
This was a refreshing read for me, despite being a "cancer book." The graphic novel format and Marisa's sense of humor--part "cancer 101" and part "Sex and the City"--made it a satisfying and informative read.
Jana
Shelve next to Stitches, Hyperbole and a Half, Fun Home, etc. The common denominator? Brilliant memoirs. Graphic novels done right are THE BEST way to share an experience.

This one is about Marisa's diagnosis of breast cancer just as she turns 43 and is about to be married. Her fears, struggles, doubts, friends, foes, wonderful fiance, and her (s)mother who is there with her through it all; food and fashion in New York City (she draws the shoes she wears to each of her chemo treatments).

Given to
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The Styling Librarian
Cancer Vixen – A True Story by Marisa Acocella Marchetto – Graphic Novel – Adult – Just one powerful, fantastic example of how cancer can throw you for a loop but you can rise up and be a vixen vs. a victim. Powerful journey journal through graphic novel that is approachable for any reader who is trying to understand their cancer journey, their friend’s cancer experience, and also good for those who have gone through the experience and need to reflect and laugh a little… So glad to receive this ...more
Scott
Despite the title, this has nothing to do with superheroes. Despite the could-be-depressing topic (40-ish Glamour cartoonist and jetsetter gets breast cancer), this book is really funny. And true. It's very "girly" (not in a bad way) in the sense that she deals with a lot of emotions, how her relationships are affected, how emotionally cruel women can be to each other (no wonder friendships are so important), her place in a male-dominated industry, mom and daughter issues, and her romance with a ...more
Amy
Included more of the author's non-cancer back-story than I was interested in knowing...the first third of the book focused on her career and relationships, as well as a pretty substantial section about 9/11. The book picked up for me when she really got into her cancer treatment and how she dealt with it - that's what I really wanted to read about. I'm super-worried about getting cancer or about someone in my family getting it, but demystifying the treatment makes it seem slightly less scary. Th ...more
Arminzerella
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
K. Bird
I read this from the perspective of an early stage breast cancer diagnosis currently undergoing chemo wanting to read other such stories that are more in a light-hearted vein.

And this story-told-through-cartoons was right up my alley. Acocella-Marchetto is kind of the like the main character of Sex-in-the-City living a glamorous, artsy New York lifestyle complete with hip, trendy, high-heeled shoes, editor-struggles, a procession of boyfriends, a difficult but artsy mother, and bossy, hip friend
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Ashley
Feb 16, 2010 Ashley rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who would never read a book about cancer
Unputdownable! I finished this book in less than 24 hours.

Marchetto's "Cancer Vixen" cartoons have appeared in brief in Glamour magazine, which was my first exposure to her. Her story is raw and real, but she still maintains her sense of humor and self, ala wearing designer shoes to her treatments. The glimpses of her vulnerability and struggles with her diagnosis and treatments were so enlightening. I've been incredibly fortunate to have never been a first-hand witness to someone's battle with
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Natalee
A lighter look at the lifestyle impacts and psychological changes brought on by a cancer diagnosis, Cancer Vixen took me by surprise. The loud, glitter-infused pink title initially turned me off, and the narrative is more fashion-focused than I like, but Marchetto won me over with her humility and her keen, reporter's eye.

Marisa is an engaging autobiographical writer and illustrator because she has an almost scientific eye for detail, noting the precise number of needles used and the sizes of i
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Shelton TRL
Plot-driven, Moving, Sassy, Amusing, Candid.

Autobiography of New Yorker Cartoonist Marisa Acocella Marchetto's fight against breast cancer. Touching and funny, she shares everything happening in her life during her diagnosis and treatment. She falls in love, goes through treatment with help from her controlling mother, makes up with a frenemy, and deals with the discovery she'll likely never have children. Great read!

I would recommend this for anyone who enjoyed Just Who the Hell Is She, Anyway?
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melydia
Nov 14, 2008 melydia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women
This is the true story, told as a graphic novel, of a NYC cartoonist and her battle with breast cancer. She is diagnosed mere weeks before her wedding to resturantuer Silvano Marchetto, and between that, her job, and the constant nuisance of models hitting on her fiance, things start to get a little harried. The comic format lends levity when needed, but never detracts from the serious parts. Since Marchetto describes every excrutiating step of her diagnosis and treatment in great detail, I lear ...more
Vanessa
Oh, this book is so hard to rate. It's a graphic memoir by Marisa Acocella Marchetto of her struggle with breast cancer which she discovered she had right as she got engaged. Her cartoons have appeared in Glamour and The New Yorker.

What I liked: I loved the author's cartoons. She is often quite funny-her anthropomorphized cancer cell doodles were cheekily hilarious. She promotes a positive outlook while realistically wallowing in self pity from time to time. There is a good deal of introductory
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