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When Life Gives You Pears: The Healing Power of Family, Faith, and Funny People

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  636 ratings  ·  107 reviews
New York Times BestsellerUSA Today Bestseller
The Big Sick meets Dad is Fat in this funny and heartfelt memoir from writer, director, wife, and mother Jeannie Gaffigan, as she reflects on the life-changing impact of battling a pear-sized brain tumor.

In 2017, Jeannie's life came to a crashing halt when she was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumor. As the mother of 5 kids-6 if you inclBestsellerBestsellerUSA
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Grand Central Publishing
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Average rating 4.30  · 
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Donna Hines
Sincerity, hilarity, heartfelt love, & with SuperMom charm Jeannie is someone we should all welcome in to our homes.
Prior to this Goodreads giveaway I had no idea about Jeannie and her career. However after reading this I feel like we are the best of friends.
I'm an empath. I feel emotion more than anyone else and this was chock full of nuts, soul, and compassion.
It will have you laugh, cry, and split your pants laughing....
Can you imagine a brain tumor can somehow put
Jim Higgins
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. Certainly the funniest book about surviving a brain tumor I've ever read.
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book because I love her other work and Jim Gaffigan's work. And you have to admire anyone who can manage a large family in a small space. However after about the third instance of her knowing someone who knew someone and suddenly she moved to the front of the line and received the best medical treatment in the country, and only attributed it to the power of prayer, I got fed up. When life gives you privilege, you make privilegeade.
Amy Oechsner
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a deeply personal story. I am a huge fan of Jim and Jeannie Gaffigan and I was there on Instagram when Jeannie had her brain surgery. It shocked all of us fans because we know of the two, Jeannie is the "health nut" and she is so young, and they have 5 kids. I felt a personal connection to this book because for 4 years, I have seen Jim Gaffigan perform here in Milwaukee on New Year's Eve (please come back, we miss you Jim!) and we (the audience) enjoy knowing that he is here for the hol ...more
Carmen Liffengren
Oct 09, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

I am a huge Jim Gaffigan fan and I know that he and his wife Jeannie are a comedy writing team. With heart and sincerity, Jeannie recounts her year of diagnosis to recovery. She doesn't sugarcoat the experience of discovering the pear-shaped brain tumor. Some of her memoir is hard to read and her road to recovery was long and intense. She's candid about how her Catholic faith got her through the darkest moments and how the experience gave Jim a chance to grow as well. There are dark
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5

I absolutely loved When Life Gives You Pears: The Healing Power of Family, Faith, and Funny People by Jeannie Gaffigan, and if you can I highly recommend listening to it on audiobook!

Jeannie Gaffigan is definitely one badass woman, and I loved listening to her story. The book touches on everything from family to faith, and she talks about what happened from before she found out about the tumor to her recovery process. I listened to the audiobook which has a forward by Jim Gaffi
Michele Pfrogner
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I flew from Ohio to NYC to hear the Gaffigans launch Jeannie's book. And I felt like an outsider. Of course, those who helped the family through Jeannie's crisis should be celebrated and recognized. But why were tickets sold to us "commoners?" I chose not to stay for the book personalization: what would I say? I'm "just" a fan; certainly, I am no one special to this family and the crisis its members journeyed through with Jeannie.
I applaud Jeannie for her honesty, her strength, her love fo
Lee Woodruff
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Being half of a comedy-writing duo, (and married to a famous comedian) doesn’t inoculate you from the bad thing in life. But it does ensure that when you write a memoir about getting a pear-shaped brain tumor as the mother of five young children at the peak of your career, it’s going to be funny. In fact Gaffigan’s writing takes a bad thing and finds a humorous and witty way to make, well, pear-ade out of pears. I met Jeannie Gaffigan outside the skanky women’s bathroom in the basement of NYC’s ...more
Ashley Strukel
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, 2019
Loved this one, as expected. Jeannie is honest and vulnerable and funny. I followed Jim as the story unfolded and have heard several interviews so I knew how it all worked out but I still found the book to be a page-turning, intriguing read. I think my favorite parts were about the strengths of their marriage and how they cultivated them in each other to get through difficult times.
Rhonda Lomazow
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A lovely warm heart wrenching story.Jeannie Gaffigan young mother of five a successful entertainment producer happily married to the comedian Jim Gaffigan,Life is busy good till the day she is diagnosed with a pear sized brain tumor and the journey Jeannie and her family take a surgery a long stay in icu her siblings that come from all over the country to sit by her bed in shifts Jim set up.Jim who takes charge handles the kids their day to day life.Jeannie who from her bed reflects on her life ...more
Meghan Reidy
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jeannie Gaffigan is a gem. This memoir was the perfect combo of humor and sadness. I often fears this genre because people often over share. It shows that Jeannie can capture the emotion of all the trauma and joy of the past two years and present in a way that still allows her family to have the sacred space they need to heal and move forward. Jeanne and Jim are saints in the making and my soul was deeply moved by her words.
Jessica Howard
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this. Full review coming for Shelf Awareness.
Jim Savastio
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this memoir of Jeannie Gaffigan's battle with a brain tumor. Does that sound strange to find such a book enjoyable? Jeannie is a very gifted and funny writer. She is also open and vulnerable in her struggles and triumphs. There were many times when I laughed and several where the tears where coming out.
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good-reads
It was a good read.
Cam Kovach
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Very funny, very sweet, heart-warming.
Shannon Wise
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: won, read-in-2019, memoir
Jeannie Gaffigan was diagnosed with a pear-sized brain tumor removed. This book is about her diagnosis, surgery, and recovery from the tumor. She details life with her husband and five children. She was a "supermom" as I like to call them - the moms who have all their shit together, work on a rigid schedule, and seem to have the perfect life. It wasn't until she was stuck in the ICU, unable to see her children, that she realized that her "supermomness" was holding her back from enjoying her kids ...more
Jason Muckley
“When Life Gives You Pears: The Healing Power of Family, Faith and Funny People” by Jeannie Gaffigan was an inspirational story of Jeannie Gaffigan’s unexpected brain tumor, the setbacks following surgery, and her overcoming spirit alongside friends, family, and God, who all contributed to her ultimate success.

What I enjoyed about this humorous memoir was the brutal honesty of what she endured, as well as her persistent desire to keep going, to overcome, to get back to normal. Some o
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A perfect blend of sincerity, wisdom, and humor...
I can honestly say that no book has ever made me cry as hard as Jeannie Gaffigan’s did. I was utterly enthralled and tortured by her descriptions of the diagnosis, surgery, and time in the ICU. I ached for my own children (safely tucked in upstairs) as she described missing hers (far away from her potentially traumatizing, slow recovery in the hospital).

You can’t help but feel true joy with each infinitesimal victory during her ultra-marat
Jennifer Pletcher
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of the author after she discovered she had a pear sized tumor in her brain. While it was benign, it still needed to come out immediately because of the damage it was causing. She talks about the symptoms she had that lead to the discovery, and how her recovery was after. How she changed her whole outlook on her life after her diagnosis and survival.

This was a fantastic book. I am a huge Jim Gaffigan fan - I watch all of his stand up shows, and he is the funniest clean comic th
Elizabeth Hesselbach
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found this book to be incredibly inspiring and motivating. Which wasn’t exactly what I was expecting when I started! I put in on my to read list because I’ve always enjoyed Jim Gaffigan and was familiar with Jeannie and their collaborations. I thought the story would be interesting - but it was a lot more than that. Listening to her talk about how her medical crisis helped her see so many of her relationships in a new light made me sit back and think about mine and how I can make some of the p ...more
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I liked this so much I’m rounding up 4.5 to 5 stars.

Jeannie Gaffigan and I have quite a bit in common: large Catholic families, an obsession with getting things done, and a desire to turn anything into a teachable moment for that large family. (She also has a moment in a hospital when she can’t succinctly answer the “could you be pregnant y/n” questionnaire, which is a trouble I identify with too much. Do you want to discuss when I ovulated??) I’m the audience for this, for sure.

Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely LOVED this book. I am so sorry that Jeannie had to go through all of horror of the brain tumor and its complications but she is very easy to relate to and finds humor in everything. My husband and I have watched Jim for years and love his comedy and I loved hearing about their lives and their children in this book and strong faith the family has. I laughed and cried while I read this book.

My Mom, who is just short of 80, had a brain tumor and surgery this year. It was hard on my Da
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars****
Written with honesty and much humor, this memoir is very well done. I loved the writing, the format (pictures scattered throughout enhance the story), and the fact that Gaffigan shares a lot of the gritty details and doesn't sugarcoat her experience. She tells of her emotional turmoil without being maudlin and the clever humor helps see us through the painful parts. She acknowledges that her survival is a mix of luck, Divine intervention, fortunate connections, faith, and the
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Yes. This is a funny book about getting a brain tumor, but it is also so much more than that. Circumstances such as Jeannie Gaffigan's could easily make a person resentful, bitter and selfish, but instead, Jeannie let them give her the opportunity to take a really stern, hard, honest look at her life and admit where her own growth was warranted - in her marriage, with her kids, with her siblings, with her control-freakishness as a mom, with God. She humbly and unabashedly gives credit where cred ...more
Stacey Autery
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not what you might think

I went into this book thinking it was about someone getting a brain tumor and the recovery after. It is but it also isn’t. This book is about the joy of life and finding the good in any situation. This book is about the bonds of marriage and how deep love can really go. This book is about letting a higher power, may it be God or Mother Nature or whoever you believe in, show you what’s really important. This book is about a strong amazing women overcoming a life alteri
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
*won an ARC through goodreads compliments of the publisher*
This Jeannie is pure magic. It’s other worldly how relatable this memoir is, even if you have no children, or have no pear shaped tumor in your brain. Yes, there is a lot of reference to faith (which you are warned about right off the bat) but it is not in your face, down your throat drowning out the over all message of this book. I was relieved that I wasn’t reading a run of the mill ‘I’m so inspirational because I survived something’
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing story. I follow her husband on Facebook and remember the horror and shock when he posted about her brain tumor and surgery. She tells her story with honesty and at times hilarity. The writing is fantastic and I now believe that she actually wrote Jim’s books. LOL
As a mother of five children myself, I can relate to her pre-brain tumor control issues and efforts to run a tight ship. I could truly feel her pain as she described missing her children and not being able to eat. And
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was a very relatable story for me since I have also had a brain tumor. I loved her humor through the whole ordeal and the realizations that she made- they were very reminiscent of my own recovery and the impact it has had on my life.

Unfortunately, I kept waiting for her to talk about how fortunate she was to have the resources available to her that helped her get expert medical treatment- not just due to her faith or divine intervention, but because of the privileges afforded to her. I know
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, audiobooks
Jim Gaffigan is my favorite comedian, so when I saw that his wife had written a book I immediately got in line to read it. I was pleasantly surprised by how touching and funny this book was. She has been through a lot and I think she did her best to be honest about how she felt as she navigated her challenges. I loved hearing how Jim supported her emotional and physical recovery. She is truly lucky to be alive and she seems to be striving to be continually grateful for that! I would recommend th ...more
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
When you read When Life Gives You Pears, you can expect the medical details, the celebrity bio, and the funny. And you can also expect a powerful testimony of the role faith played in Jeannie Gaffigan's life and in her recovery. In this book, she candidly shares it all: her fears; the details of her surgery, treatment, and recovery; how the whole experience impacted her outlook on the world; the role faith played in her life before, during, and after her illness.
(Review copy received from publis
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