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In-Between Days: A Memoir About Living with Cancer

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2016 Governor General's Literary Award Finalist

2017 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize Winner

2017 Joe Shuster Award Nominee

Teva Harrison was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at the age of 37. In this brilliant and inspiring graphic memoir, she documents through comic illustration and short personal essays what it means to live with the disease. She confronts with heartbreaking honesty the crises of identity that cancer brings: a lifelong vegetarian, Teva agrees to use experimental drugs that have been tested on animals. She struggles to reconcile her long-term goals with an uncertain future, balancing the innate sadness of cancer with everyday acts of hope and wonder. She also examines those quiet moments of helplessness and loving with her husband, her family, and her friends, while they all adjust to the new normal.

Ultimately, In-Between Days is redemptive and uplifting, reminding each one of us of how beautiful life is, and what a gift.

168 pages, Paperback

First published April 26, 2016

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Teva Harrison

3 books26 followers

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5 stars
296 (42%)
4 stars
276 (39%)
3 stars
102 (14%)
2 stars
17 (2%)
1 star
2 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 132 reviews
Profile Image for Samantha Mitchell .
195 reviews30 followers
April 4, 2018
I spent most of this book either crying, or screen-shotting the pages (read on my iPad), so I wouldn't forget all of the experiences Teva described that are the exact same as my own.

Also living with Stage IV, the feeling of hope-turned-sadness-turned-anger is so real for me. If you ever want a glimpse into my life, or anyone living with this incurable disease, read this book. It'll break your heart but you'll come out more compassionate, guaranteed.

**after reading a second time I cried less (maybe I have more gotten used to the idea) but felt more. I cried through the sad parts but didn’t pay enough attention to the hopeful. This is a book I will re-read again and again.
Profile Image for Canadian Reader.
1,049 reviews8 followers
May 26, 2017
Teva Harrison has written a delicate, beautiful, and honest memoir, interspersed with comics. (I had heard that this was a graphic memoir, but that is not strictly true. There is a nice balance of visuals and text.) Diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at age 37, she had experienced deep, inexplicable bone pain for months before the painful breast lump pointed to what was really going on. Even though she had a family history of reproductive cancers--a great aunt and aunt who had died of metastatic breast cancers and a maternal grandmother who survived 3 cancers (Ashkenazi Jewish genetics explain some of this), Teva's doctors missed her cancer in its early stages. By the time she was diagnosed, she was stage IV. The cancer was in her bones and subsequently moved to her liver. Teva addresses the fear, the anxiety, the sickness that comes with the treatments she receives, the pain, the treatment-induced menopause and sexual dysfunction, and her profound love for her husband and for life. Plainly, this is not an easy read, but Teva's love of life provides a balance of sorts against the pain and sadness of the story and its reminder that we all are mortal, after all.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
April 19, 2017
A kind of hybrid prose and comics/cartoons memoir about the author's being diagnosed with (incurable) metastatic breast cancer at the age of only 37. One page has images, the next has an anecdote or reflection, and I guess I might have preferred more of one than the other.

I wasn't a fan of the illustrations (give her a break, maybe? While she calls herself an artist, this is her first foray into cartooning), but also in a way--I know this sounds crazy--I actually might have preferred her illustrating her struggles, focusing on the images to convey her experiences--to her prose. But I can say if you have cancer or know someone close to you that has cancer, this could be an important book for you. It has a very high Goodreads rating so far, so lots of people love it, find solace and fellow-feeling in it. A quick glance at some of the reviews confirms this, too.

I don't have cancer (I think) though I have a lot of experience with family and friends who have or have had it. I also have read a number of cancer memoirs and specifically graphic memoirs about living with cancer and thought this was good, honest, real, useful, pretty engaging. And sad, of course, though she is hopeful her team can turn "incurable" into "chronic condition."
Profile Image for Rod Brown.
5,133 reviews171 followers
March 8, 2022
Engrossing and moving autobiographical cartoons, vignettes and short essays about living with a terminal illness.

With such short snippets, the book does get a little too random at times, and in general I'm not a fan of hybrid graphic novels. Here, every one-page cartoon is followed by one to two pages of text that comments on the cartoon or reiterates and expands upon the theme of the cartoon. The repetition detracts and makes me wish the cartoons were allowed to stand on their own, but its understandable that Harrison wanted to get as much in as quickly as possible. And what she does capture is very valuable.
Profile Image for Laurie Siblock.
68 reviews
April 22, 2016
I am living with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer, currently in remission. My preferable term for "in remission" is "cured". Teva describes my own experience so perfectly that I want to buy her book for everyone I know and when I give it to them I can say, "This is exactly what I'm going through". Although I have to acknowledge that, while Teva's Stage 4 Metastatic Breast cancer is incurable, my remission has a chance of really turning into "cured"; if I can make it to the 5-years-after-treatment stage without a recurrence. I'm told that after 5 years, if the cancer hasn't come back, you have the same odds as anyone else of getting cancer again. I don't know if that is true or not, but I'm pinning my hopes on it. Don't correct me if I'm wrong, pretty please.

Thank you, Teva for being brave and being so open, public and honest with your experience. Your drawings were delightful and I avidly read In-Between Days in almost one sitting, interrupted only by sleep, a sleep in which I almost got up at 3:00 in the morning to finish your book. Your book is going to make a lot of difference to people living with cancer and those who love and support them. <3
Profile Image for Sharyl.
481 reviews15 followers
September 1, 2016
Teva Harrison's wonderful, touching work of art about her life, before and after her diagnosis of Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, at the age of thirty-seven. Teva is an inspiration to everyone, with her profound expressions of living life to its maximum. I would recommend this to absolutely anyone.

I never would have found out about her on my own--I'm thankful for my bookish friends!
And--she has a blog.
Profile Image for Gina Murdoch.
478 reviews14 followers
November 7, 2022
"Small talk is a minefield when all you have to offer is cancer. It’s touched everybody, but most people don’t know how to talk about it or don’t want to."

This was an extremely emotional read that offered so much insight into the experience of those living with cancer. I appreciated how Teva's comics allowed the reader to visualize her lived experiences. I saw so much of Sam's journey reflected in her writing and drawings which made it difficult albeit purposeful to get through.
Profile Image for Laura.
2,656 reviews82 followers
February 7, 2017
How do you write about cancer? How do you write about incurable cancer? And how do you write about Stage IV cancer? Teva, the author, approaches with sadness, and thoughtfulness, and the thoughts that one things when faced with all that.

She is an atheist. She joins a group of other stage IV cancer patients and finds she doesn't relate. She doesn't believe in the afterlife. She believes in kindness.

This book isn't so much a story of her life, but thoughts on that mortality of her life. How do you explain that your life is made up of fighting for your life, without making that all the people think of you? When she does small talk, what does she say? Her illness is not visible. No one gives her their seat on the subway.

Very striking book. Dying of cancer is not a fun thing, and there is no real fun in this. Just insight, and thoughtfulness. The cartoons are mixed with short stories about what each cartoon means.

This book is for those curious about how people live with cancer.

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
Profile Image for Sardonyx.
345 reviews6 followers
June 2, 2016
Goodread's rating scale is 0 (did not like it) to 5 (it was amazing). I gave it a 5, because I've been reading it since yesterday and my stomach has been in knots and my eyes on the verge of tears since I started, heck, even as I write this review. Teva's honest descriptions of what her life is like living with metastases cancer just broke my heart into a million pieces as I read it. It gave me some serious insights and better understanding of what someone with cancer experiences. I wish her well in her continued journey fighting, surviving it and living her life as fully as she can!
Author 1 book3 followers
August 14, 2021
This book was very inspiring. At first, I was uncertain whether I wanted to read her memoir, but I did not feel sad as I read it. In fact, it helped me understand what people who are dying from cancer go through and re-established what life meant to me. I think this memoir is relatable to anyone suffering or recovering from an illness, as well as those who know someone in a similar situation. A very profound, honest, moving piece. Her artwork illustrations were a nice addition and her writing was great.
Profile Image for Meghan.
48 reviews1 follower
June 15, 2016
Holy crap. Will have to take a little longer to process Teva's book and what makes it so special, but wow. Met her when she was one of the featured authors of my local authors festival, and only picked up the book after I saw her on a panel. Now that I've read it, I need to meet and speak with her again. It's just lovely.
Profile Image for Regina.
1 review
April 2, 2017
My daughter won this book on Goodreads and passed it on to me to read. As a breast cancer survivor, I could relate to everything the author shares in her memoir. I loved how honest she is about her experiences and thoughts as she deals with metastatic breast cancer. Thanks to Teva Harrison for sharing her journey, and showing how to find beauty and hope while living with this disease.
Profile Image for Melanie.
105 reviews
March 30, 2017
I feel like Teva Harrison is a friend and an advocate even though she has no idea who I am. This book is fiercely honest. It's gentle, too. If you know someone with cancer or are someone with cancer, In Between Days might take away some lonely.
Profile Image for Suzze Tiernan.
602 reviews52 followers
September 13, 2016
Hard to read, yet so full of hope. I pray for the author and anyone else living day to day with cancer.
Profile Image for Liv.
88 reviews11 followers
July 28, 2019
So, this will sound silly, but I honestly didn't realize that this was a memoir about living with cancer when I purchased it. The purple text on the cover doesn't really pop out, and my thought process was literally, "oh, here's that comic by the woman from my work, I never met her but a lot of people I work with knew her - she died recently... I should give it a go", and I popped it in my bag without looking too closely.

My father passed away of terminal cancer last year, so reading this was actually kind of a mild emotional mine-field for me. "Was he thinking these things? Did he go through that? I know he was on a lot of medication for pain but wow I hope it wasn't this bad..." It's obviously pretty different experiences between an elderly man and a young woman. But then I've also been going through a lot MYSELF about figuring out how to make the most of the years I have left (not that I'm ill, but I'm also not immortal) and so much of Teva's thoughts seemed personally relevant (although I acknowledge I am very lucky to be healthy and looking at these questions much longer-term).

The illustrations are great and the pairing with text works very well. It's not a happy read, but it is an interesting one, and it feels somehow like you are honouring her memory by reading her words and becoming part of her legacy.
Profile Image for Elisabeth Manley.
479 reviews5 followers
October 31, 2022
Living with out-of-the gate metastatic cancer is different. Than life before and different than what I would have expected breast cancer to be, experientially.

You see, breast cancer has a powerful marketing machine that teaches us the diagnosis will occur in time for a cure. That cure will be comprised of chemo, surgery, radiation, and possibly an additional hormone therapy, depending on the profile of your cancer.

But when your cancer has already metastasized to remote parts of your body, with the time it’s identified, you learn a different story. You learn that the horse has jumped the gate, so to speak; the cancer is already in your bones. Then you hear the chilling words, “We’re no longer looking for a cure.”
Profile Image for Gina.
35 reviews
March 19, 2023
This is the perfect book for the {{generativity vs stagnation}} part of life.

You're so busy doing - eg. working, riding the real estate wave, parenting young kids, - that you feel so stretched thin and *JUST WAITING* to catch a break to feel happiness when this book actually makes you realize - this is all that anyone ever wished for. To be partnered with an adult you love, surrounded by little ones you created, and interactions so joyful and sweet no matter how many competing pressures there are.

This book is a heartbreaking pause button to look around you and drink in the moments which anyone could ever yearn for and miss.
Profile Image for Susan.
1,599 reviews9 followers
August 31, 2017
This was a very moving book. I definitely shouldn't have read this in one sitting, just before bed. The BRCA1 mutation runs in my family, and this book had me lying awake for a long time, thinking about the women in my family. I have a few friends who are currently living with stage 4 breast cancer, and this book helped me understand how they must be feeling.
Profile Image for Kieran Carney.
68 reviews2 followers
June 24, 2019
I wish I could give this book a 3.5 star rating but can't. It is really good and raw but something about the writing style didn't quite click with me. Many of the passages are painful, sad, and eye-opening and I still recommend this book especially to people who enjoy graphic novels. Quick read too- I read it in a day throughout my weekend of nonstop reading haha.
Profile Image for Kari.
1,136 reviews11 followers
July 23, 2017
Given to me by the author's sister - this graphic novel memoir about being diagnosed with cancer at age 37 shows heart from the first frame. I didn't know about Teva's journey before reading this - but felt like she took my hand and led me thru her world... I wish I had seen her while she was in Portland on the book tour because she felt like a friend by the books end...
Profile Image for Tova.
630 reviews
Shelved as 'minion-voice-eh-no'
August 16, 2017
While I think this book would be great, I feel as if it's going to be too triggering personally.
Profile Image for Shelley Gibbs.
227 reviews8 followers
February 4, 2020
A heartbreakingly raw, yet beautifully hopeful, graphic memoir about living with incurable metastatic breast cancer.
Profile Image for Lisa.
89 reviews
March 24, 2018
I liked the creative format the author used for her story and expression of her experience. It’s raw, made me think a lot about mortality in the face of cancer through the author’s journey and without. Her story and the stories of her family members are full of hope, survival and the will to live.
Profile Image for rabble.ca.
176 reviews45 followers
May 27, 2016

Review by Lauren Scott

"I occupy the liminal spaces, slipping between unnoticed. The hours of cancer are strange. MRIs at 3:00 a.m., pain at 2:00 a.m., capable one day, incapable the next. It's like living in the shadows," writes Teva Harrison in her debut graphic memoir In-between Days, which chronicles her life with cancer. "And so I take the spaces nobody claims and I occupy them in the best way I know how: living life with a sense of wonder and delight."
In-between Days begins like this, establishing Harrison's jovial voice and wistful approach to life, despite being in a situation most would find disheartening.
At 37, Harrison was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer -- cancer that has spread to multiple organs and is incredibily difficult to cure -- after years of unexplainable pain and constant reassurance from her doctors that she was healthy.
According to the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network, only seven per cent of breast cancer research funding in North America and the United Kingdom went to metastatic cancer research between 2000 and 2013. The majority of research grants are put towards curing cancer. Since metastatic cancer is currently largely incurable, the focus for these patients becomes to prolong life and promote a better quality of living.

Read more here: http://rabble.ca/books/reviews/2016/0...
Profile Image for Alexis.
Author 6 books131 followers
June 22, 2016
I've never read something quite like this before. Teva Harrison was in her 30s when she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, which is incurable. (There are different types of breast cancer and metastatic will spread throughout your body). Most people don't know that there are different types of breast cancer, and metastatic receives a very low level of all the funds allocated to breast cancer.

Anyway, this is a heartbreaking, honest and beautiful graphic memoir that talks about life and living with metastatic breast cancer. It's a short book. Teva started drawing illustrations to deal with her illness and she writes a short blurb on the page after the illustration. This is a beautiful, painful and necessary book. I wish her much success with it.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Laura Frey (Reading in Bed).
309 reviews114 followers
September 21, 2016
I actually wanted more illustration, and less prose, from this graphic novel, which is usually the opposite of how I feel. 2.5 stars. There were certain sections I loved, like the tribute to the female family members the author lost to cancer, but some of the sections were boring. The drawing style wasn't really my thing.
Profile Image for Devon.
206 reviews4 followers
January 30, 2017
What a stunning book. I loved every vignette. I can't even begin to review properly because I feel like anything I say will pale in comparison to how well written each piece was. It's authentic and self-aware in a way I aspire to and I just feel grateful to have had this book given to me so that I had the chance to read it.
Profile Image for Sue.
1 review4 followers
May 15, 2016
This raw and honest book should be required reading for anyone dealing with a cancer diagnosis, especially those who are terminal. As a breast cancer survivor, I could relate to a lot of the situations that Teva Harrison writes about.
Profile Image for Amy Stuart.
Author 57 books465 followers
June 26, 2016
A stunning, moving, beautifully drawn and written memoir about the author's devastating diagnosis with metastatic breast cancer at the age of only 37. A book about cancer and fear and life and love that is at its core about hope. READ IT!!!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 132 reviews

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