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Cancer Vixen

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  1,432 ratings  ·  210 reviews
What happens when a shoe-crazy, lipstick-obsessed, wine-swilling, pasta-slurping, fashion-fanatic, single-forever, 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 graphic memoir in motion. In vivid color and with a taboo-breaking sense of humor, Marisa Acocella
Paperback, 212 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by Knopf Publishing Group
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  1,432 ratings  ·  210 reviews

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Bionic Jean
Have you ever read a book, passed it on to someone who you think would also appreciate it, only to buy it again ... and again? This is such a book.

Cancer can hit anyone. The author of this book never thought it would affect her; she was young and fit. So is the person to whom I am giving the copy I have in front of me. She also is young and fit, with a 7 month old baby. Of course progress is being made in the medical world all the time, but the stark facts still apply. Cancer is a killer.

This b
Elyse  Walters
Oct 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thank You to Jean, (Goodreads friend), for recommending this book!

Marisa Acocella Marchetto is a graphic cartoonist artist....and Cancer Survivor.

In this true story Marisa says..."Cancer, I Am Going To Kick Your Butt".

With humor, warmth, colorful expressive drawings, Marisa reminds us and awakens us
that Cancer is more than surviving an illness ... It can transform a person's life.

The journey we take with Marisa begins when she was swimming laps and noticed her arm hurt..."something fishy". S
Feb 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
"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
Susan H.
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir
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
Dave Riley
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
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
Oct 31, 2011 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
Ellen Johnson
Nov 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoir
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.
Dave Schaafsma
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Everyone who gets s Cancer diagnosis has a personal Cancer Journey and this graphic novel shares the author’s detailed experience. I’ve never been able to read a graphic novel before but this one drew me in and kept me reading to the finish. Great illustrations, witty wisdom, and a beautiful outlook on life.
Aug 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own
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
Oct 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
This was interesting for the practical chemo experience, but I got tired of her bragging about her old, supposed chick-magnet husband.
Liz B
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Marisa is a cartoonist working in New York City, about to get married, when she is diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember reading about this book years ago (maybe before I was such a heavy library user) and even browsing through it in a bookstore--but I felt I couldn't afford it then, so I didn't get it.

I think the thing I liked the most about this book was how it kept making me check my natural judginess. So Marisa? Definitely not the kind of person I am or am friends with. Fancy shoes, fancy
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
What if Carrie Bradshaw got breast cancer the comic. So dumb and yet exactly what I needed right now
May 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 23, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Mark Schlatter
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: shreve
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
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Had to read this for my graphic novels class.

I feel like I should have liked this more considering her circumstances. Hell, my mom is a breast cancer survivor and I was like "this is something I can relate too."

It wasn't. It was reeeeeeally hard for me to like Marisa. She was petty, a narcissist, and just had traits I really don't like in a person. I felt bad she had cancer, but she made it seem like she was the only person who had it and her case was the worst. It's all bad. Telling the doctor
Rex Hurst
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
An autobiographical graphic novel of a somewhat vapid woman in her forties who is diagnosed with breast cancer. It was difficult to get into as the protagonists greatest fear, as she describes, is that she is afraid of losing her hair and putting on weight. She is an older woman who still acts as if she is in her twenties and constantly mentioning how her boyfriend is being hit on by younger women, but still prefers her. In the end she claims that her experience has caused her to mature as a pe ...more
Apr 26, 2008 added it
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
Jul 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
i didn't enjoy this, the art was very unappealing to me. on the cover, it's fun and quirky, but when it's an entire book of it, it's too much; way too busy and i didn't think it was laid out well at times. each page was hard for me to read and the type chosen wasn't something i enjoyed either. it was quite a chore to get through this. i love fashion and i thought this would be something reminscent of Margaux Motin where the clothes are beautifully depicted and the jokes are really funny and rela ...more
David Jay
Jul 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am fascinated and impressed by graphic novels that tackle serious topics and yet manage to do so with lightness and humor. "Cancer Vixen," like "Fun Home" and "Special Exits," does a wonderful job conveying the heft of the situation in question, but somehow I think the illustrations soften the blow.

Marchetto is a fashion loving NYC gal (her depiction of what life in NYC can be like is spot on) who meets and falls in love with a fabulous, famous NYC restauranteur while also being diagnosed with
Derek Royal
Mar 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Rereading this book to prep for our upcoming podcast interview with Marchetto. Interesting example of autobio comics Art, but I feel mixed about this narrative, and much of that stems from my mixed feeling over protagonist/persona. At times, the New York-fashion/culture-more-superficial-everyone's-a-BFF side of her is difficult to empathize with. ...more
May 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I don't think I would have enjoyed this book so much had it not been in graphic form. What a neat way to read a book. I'm pretty amazed by the author's candor and for sharing so much of a bad time in her life with the readers of her book. I must keep up with her and also read her other book!
Oct 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
It may not be fair to say that I've read this book because I could barely make it through the first ten pages. The main character is annoying, and the art is terrible. The art was so bad, that it made it difficult to look at. ...more
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Marisa Acocella Marchetto is a cartoonist for The New Yorker whose work has appeared in The New York Times; Glamour; and O, The Oprah Magazine, among other publications. She is the author of The New York Times bestselling graphic novel Ann Tenna (Knopf), Cancer Vixen (Knopf), and Just Who the Hell Is She Anyway? (Crown). Her graphic memoir Cancer Vixen was named one of Time’s top ten graphic memoi ...more

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