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Naked Imperfection: A Memoir

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  129 ratings  ·  37 reviews
What if you’re doing everything right—living a healthy, virtuous, conscientious life—and something goes terribly wrong?

Gillian Deacon was the paragon of virtue, the standard-bearer for how to live responsibly on the Earth. So when the all-natural, vegetarian, yoga-practising, marathon-running mother of three young boys was diagnosed with breast cancer, the world stopped ma
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 15th 2014 by Penguin Books Canada
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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Angela Yazbek
Mar 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing

Gill Deacon’s stark honesty will bring you to your knees.
She weaves words effortlessly -- from the beautifully poetic to the spiritually searing.
Naked Imperfection is a book about cancer and not about cancer at all.
If you are a woman living, loving and striving to make sense of the seemingly
randomness of life, you will see yourself exposed in her words.
There is no running from life when you read this memoir.
It requires you to take a sharp and meaningful look at how you are living your days
Grazyna Krupa
Mar 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a wise and moving book. When Gill Deacon finds out she has breast cancer, her world is turned upside down. As she investigates the world of cures and balms, hospitals and therapists with a keen and witty investigator's eye, you can't help being amused and also enlightened. But when she turns the scalpel on herself, her blunt self-assessment reveals fascinating insights that continue to resonate long after the book is shelved. Terrific read.
Ann Douglas
At first glance, this appears to be a beautifully written memoir of broadcaster, writer, and environmental activist Gill Deacon's struggle with breast cancer. But the book is so much more than that. It is a moving reminder of the beauty in everyday things, especially nature, and that we only find peace when we surrender control. As Deacon writes: "No matter how much exercise or energy healing I do how many soothing restorative walks I take through the woods, how many heads of raw kale I juice or ...more
Ania Szado
Apr 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Gill Deacon takes a clear, honest, and fearless look at the quest for perfection that was her birthright, and the imperfections (both inevitable and, in the case of cancer, entirely unexpected) that are thrust upon her. While this striking and thoughtful memoir is anchored by Deacon's breast cancer experience, the insights it offers are relevant to anyone who grapples with how to live thoughtfully and ethically within a challenging and unpredictable world. It is moving and very personal, yet nev ...more
Feb 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Gill is a great story teller; self-deprecating, funny, and irreverent. She takes us along on her journey through breast cancer with an honest account of her experiences and emotions and she doesn’t shy away from the hard parts. The book has beautiful images and clever metaphors which make it a pleasure to read. In the end, there are probably more questions than answers in the book but these are universal questions that we can all relate to. I highly recommend it.
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
You think you may know Gill Deacon, the "queen of green" but when she is diagnosed with breast cancer she contemplates what the illusion of control has really cost her, and her health. Gill's story is relevant to all women who are trying to balance career, family and their health. What does it mean to be a daughter, sister, mother, wife in the modern day? And she does so, with her characteristic sense of humour.
Mar 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is a lovely introspective look at the randomness of life and the struggle for control and meaning. Gill uses her wit and smart, insightful observations on the world we live in to bring her personal journey to life. The story is open and honest, leaving us with much to think about.
Cathy Marie Buchanan
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-love
Beautifully written and poignantly told, Naked Imperfection is packed with insight, humour and wisdom. It made me laugh and weep and think.
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Let me start by saying, I am definitely glad that [spoiler] Gill is now okay, and cancer-free (I believe... I started skimming the book because I got so annoyed with her, but I at least gathered that much).

For sufferers of cancer, survivors, or those with loved ones who are going through it, perhaps they'll enjoy this more than I did. Not that I don't know anyone who has had cancer. But the majority of reviews of this book are really positive, and I can't understand.

Deacon is SO arrogant in her
Penny McGill
May 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
I went back and forth on this book. I wanted to read it because I enjoy Gil Deacon as my host (and almost feels like my friend) on my regular afternoon CBC radio program but part of me didn't want to read it due to the subject matter. I knew that it would have some very bleak moments and just wasn't sure that this was the right month to feel extra bleak. I was so pleased that Deacon's 'voice' comes across in the bleak and hopeful moments in the book and felt that it was worth the ache to go thro ...more
Farrah Johnson
Oct 16, 2014 rated it liked it
I got this book when I attended Read for the Cure, an event at which author Gillian Deacon was speaking. To be honest, I had never heard of her, but based on her strong speech/talk, I was eager to read her novel. I really enjoyed the writing style and the approach Deacon took in relaying her experience fighting cancer. As this is a non-fiction read, there is only a few things I can comment on. I think she did a great job sharing her story, which included Western treatments, a dietary overhaul (d ...more
Apr 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book through CBC Radio and Goodreads. I know Gill Deacon as a radio host and feel as though she would be in my circle of friends if we were ever to know one another personally. This is my first experience reading one of her books, although I listen to her broadcasts pretty much daily. This book is one that I can relate to on a very intimate level even though I have not experienced a fight with cancer such as she has. Every thought she expresses about her ...more
Maureen :)
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
i won a copy of this book on Goodreads and thought it sounded interesting.
I really enjoyed it. I did not realize it was written by Gillian Deacon of CBC Radio until it arrived.
The memoir of her breast cancer journey was very insightful and I loved her observations and the balance between " why me" and " glad to be alive" thoughts that are involved for those dealing with treatment or face other medical challenges....

It was a pleasure to read and I know I will reread it if someone close to me is e
May 18, 2014 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

I enjoyed this book about Gillian Deacon's struggle with breast cancer. While the material is very sobering, I was impressed at how she handled her diagnosis and the subsequent changes to her life. I could understand her confusion/frustration with her diagnosis as she seemed to have the healthiest lifestyle around and she seemed like the least likely person to get cancer.

I found that the book could get a bit choppy in places, and felt a bit 'preachy' in others, but I still liked readin
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, partly because Gill is a friend (and our kids are friends), partly because she grew up in the same era as me (so many of her cultural references were familiar), and mostly because cancer has touched my life many times. When I saw Gill after I read the book I gave her a hug, to congratulate her on writing such a giving book. That was the word that kept coming in to my mind when I tried to summarize my thoughts: giving. She gave of her family, herself, her experience, h ...more
Melanie Frenette
May 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: giveaways
If you are already a fan of Gillian and already know that how she is, read this book... maybe you won't think she is arrogant?

I say this because she thinks that she is perfect and does not deserve to have cancer. And this would be ok if she didn't believe that everybody BUT her deserves it.
I kept reading... waiting for her to come back down to earth and realize that the life she chose does not make her better than anyone else... but no. That didn't happen.

I won this from a GoodReads giveaway th
Aug 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gifted
Naked Imperfection A Memoir by Gillian Deacon Gillian Deacon
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book.
It was like going on a journey with a friend & unfortunately it had to end but the ending was pleasant with a touch of "what's gonna happen next". How odd that we listen to Gil on the radio but never really associate that voice to a human, with a life outside of radio. Her words were comforting & easy to get thru but the subject can never be. I appreciate this book for what it is & for the reminder that life truly is what we make of it. Than
Oct 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian-authors
Gill Deacon is our CBC Toronto late afternoon radio host and I have heard her refer to her books a few times but more recently was interested in an interview she did about this her latest book. It is a really deeply personal memoir not just about her journey through breast cancer but also paralleled with her brother's journey through infertility issues and loss.

There are good endings all around as well as lots of wisdom gained and a perspective on living in the now that comes from hard earned e
Guylou (Two Dogs and a Book)
Apr 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book from Pinguin Canada in exchange for an honest review.

The mémoire was well documented in a series of small stories. Gillian Devon, a Toronto author and radio personality, did not try to embellish her encounter with cancer. She shares her struggles and pains in an open conversation with her readers. She remains honest through the descriptions of all she tried to win her battle with cancer; even when the methods were quite unusual.

Naked Imperfection is a beautiful book about
May 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Something compelled me to read Gillian's journey with cancer. Was it her interview on CBC Radio? Her insights were refreshing and honest. A woman who had perfect control of her life, but did she? A quote from the book summed it up for me: "...cancer is a gift, but it comes wrapped in barbed wire. You have to go through a lot of pain and excrutiating effort to unwrap it before it can reveal its value. But once it has been opened, it is unparalleled treasure." beautifully written...thanks Gillian ...more
Dec 01, 2014 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading about Gill's journey with breast cancer, as each journey is deeply personal. I am glad that her diagnosis and treatment taught her that life is random and that all the planning and "clean living" we do cannot protect us from cancer. I would not recommend this book to someone as she goes through breast cancer treatment, but it is a good read after-the-fact about lessons learned and how having cancer can change your priorities.
Ron S
Feb 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Broadcaster, author and environmentalist Deacon writes about being diagnosed with breast cancer despite a lifetime of healthy living. This is why do bad things happen to good people for the eco-set and women struggling to live up to impossible self-imposed standards. A couple of the chapters stand out as being laugh out loud funny.
Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderfully written - honest account of life before cancer and after. Gill writes with wit, humour and incredible insight. It had me in tears one minute and laughing the next. This is a beautiful memoir that will have you looking at life a little differently – it will stay with you long after reading the last page.
May 03, 2014 rated it liked it
I am currently going through cancer treatment, which is why I picked this up. I found her hard to like for most of the book, only towards the end did she become more human to me. She comes across as a very judgemental person. Thankfully I read the whole book and feel that I could connect in some ways at the end. Quick read.
Anna Noga
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Flew through this book-I loved it. It talks about the epidemic I call control delusion. The delusion that you are in control. In this case, the extremely healthy author developed breast cancer. Many wise statements about our modern society. Didn't like some of the weird spirituality like "I sense your left breast has much wisdom". Huh?

Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
So enjoyed this book that made it clear that when facing fear and death, the things in one's life that don't really matter fall away. It's a terrible gift which Gillian Deacon has written about in a brave and honest way.
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Terrific read - there are moments that made me laugh out loud. I wasn't expecting that. Loved the earth hour story - thank you Gill Deacon for a great book.
Jill Donald
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There are many tender moments and life lessons gently woven throughout this beautifully written memoir. This is an honest and uplifting read that has made me reflect on my own life in more detail.
Laurie Kingston
May 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
A beautifully written, honest and original take on what it's like to go through breast cancer. It's a book that will speak to anyone who has lived their life striving for perfection.
Shara Greensides
May 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this. I try to support Canadian authors. Knowing several people who have had cancer, and some who have lost their battle, I was hoping to get an understanding of their perspective. While she writes very well, and her style is engaging, I got 2/3 of the way through it and couldn't do it anymore. I understand that she is looking for answers to why she got cancer when she did "everything right," but she comes off as very judgmental and holier than thou. The scene where she sits in ...more
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Gillian Deacon is the author of Naked Imperfection, a memoir about the modern woman's struggles with perfectionism and the illusion of control, as considered in light of a young healthy woman's diagnosis with breast cancer.
Gill's last book, There's Lead in Your Lipstick, was a national bestseller as soon as it was released in January 2011. It was ranked #1 on the Independent Booksellers sales lis

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