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Better Off Bald: A Life in 147 Days

4.50  ·  Rating details ·  48 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Adrienne Wilson is a depressed, suicidal teenager—until the day she receives a diagnosis of stage IV liver cancer. Facing the fight of her life, Adrienne discovered just how much she wants to live. In Better Off Bald: A Life in 147 Days, Andrea Wilson Woods chronicles her sister's remarkable life, from the time she was born to the day she dies at age fifteen. Written like ...more
Published October 15th 2019 by Build Your BLISSS
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Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Better Off Bald is a story of Adrienne Wilson, born in Birmingham, but lived with her elder sister Andrea in Los Angeles since she was eight years old. Adrienne was diagnosed with stage IV liver cancer and died at the age of fifteen, after fighting for 147 days.

Andrea Wilson Woods was not only Adrienne's sister but her legal guardian too. Their mother was a drug addict and lost Adrienne's custody. It is a journey of two siblings who don't see quitting as an option. When they find out about
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Better Off Bald is an emotional read that carries a complicated family history. Understanding Andrea and Adrienne's family and friend dynamics is something else. Once I got them down in my head, the cancer diagnosis became a heavier reality to swallow. The title gives away the end result, so the book is really more about those surreal four months.

Cancer is different for every person, so reading about Stage IV for someone so young hits hard. Andrea doesn't hold back about how strenuous the
Jo-Ann Duff (Duffy The Writer)
The last time I read about a woman battling cancer, it was the incredible Patient 71 by Julie Randall. I was so moved by the book I actually met and keep in contact with Julie. Her story was so moving and at times hard to comprehend, which made me wonder if I could handle reading about a young teenager going through the same battles. I’m glad to say that I took the plunge and read the story of Andrea and Adrienne.

Better Off Bald: A Life in 147 Days is a very moving, sometimes difficult to read
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OMG! Well written, SO EMOTIONAL!
I have no words. This is not pity, this is me being emotional. This is raw, good, well written, it gets to you... if you have a heart and soul!

You have to read this!!!

ARC received through NetGalley. This is my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Betty Hutchinson
Good book. I enjoyed reading this story about sisters and one's battle with cancer.
Deborah Wong
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
This memoir about two sisters is also about a mom and daughter; they are the same people. Andrea has custody of her "kiddo" Adrienne, because their mother is not able to take care of her daughter (more about that in the book), and Adrienne's father is deceased.

When author Andrea Wilson Woods finds out that her beloved younger sister/daughter has a rare liver cancer, she does everything possible within her means to cure - or at least buy time - for 15-year-old Adrienne. Mapped out in a series of
Cristie Underwood
This biography written by the sister of Adrienne Wilson about her sister is heartbreaking, as Adrienne was a suicidal teen before being diagnosed with stage IV liver cancer. She decided at that point she wanted to live and
make the most of the time she had left, which turned out to be 147 days. Andrea writes about how she obtained custody of her sister and of their final days together. I highly recommend this book.
Kathleen Garber
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have an aunt who had Cancer but I was young and had no part in knowing the details and it mustn’t have been too bad because she’s fine and I don’t ever remember her being sick. So I’ve been pretty ignorant with regards to what living with Cancer is really like.

After reading Better Off Bald, I realize just how bad Cancer can be. The author’s sister (who she is guardian of) has a fairly rare adult liver cancer despite the fact that she is only 15. When she is diagnosed, it comes as a complete
Literary Portals
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
What Made Me Read It I was sent a copy of the memoir in exchange for an honest review. The editor described it as a book where "Woods explores the true meaning of living and dying with heart and humor, as she comes to reconcile her life in the face of the ultimate loss - her fifteen year old sister, Adrienne". It sounded like an interesting and profound reading so I decided to give it a try.

The Good "Better off bald" is a memoir written in the first person through the eyes of the author, as she
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Adrienne and girl diagnosed with cancer as well as her sister who is also her gaurdian Andrea the author. This book touches you. It makes you laugh and cry. I cried a lot. This is also a story of a girl who wouldn't give up and fought on her own terms. This is about s beautiful soul gone to soon. We are taken through hospital visits and dreams come true. This is a book worth reading if only to get to know the beautiful soul of Adrienne.

I would like to thank Netgalley and
Ani G
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My Review:
Cancer stories are always so hard for me to read, because it is so devastating for me, to read how helpless people are when they go through such an almost incurable disease. “Better Off Bald” was no different.
However, Adrienne fought the cancer with such a determination and bravery, that her story was also encouraging to read. She had more courage when she was sick and dyeing then most strong and healthy people have.
I had a hard time read parts of the book because Adrienne was so
Julie Haigh
An amazing memoir.

At the start of her book, the author is 13. And moving, which also means a new high school. With mum. She didn't know at the time, but mum had another baby on the way. Her sister. Then it jumps ahead to where her little sister is 15. Her young sister started being ill in 2001. 18 years ago.

Written in the present-not the past. As things are happening. The diagnosis is confirmed. It's very bad. Everything moves so fast, and the writing reflects this. Tumbles straight into
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs
Cancer touches most of our lives and some people make it their mission in life to help prevent and or treat cancer with a goal to help cure it.

When diagnosed with cancer, patients often ask their physicians what does this require? Patients are informed of staging, the possibility of symptoms and tests and often come face to face with authorizing their own support and treatment options.

If you are a caregiver, you know that you put your wants aside to focus on the ever-changing needs of the ill
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow...this book is so real, and so inspiring. Although one knows the basic ending upon reading the title, this book gives so much more than just an accounting of a cancer journey. It is a roller coaster of emotions, yet it is largely positive. It is so brutally open and honest, yet it is full of dignity. It is a beautiful testament of the unconditional love between sisters. This book is beautifully written and a great tribute to the spirit of the young lady fighting this battle. I think she ...more
Kelly Shanahan
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I've met Andrea at cancer conferences, but do not know her outside of this.

Better Off Bald is a heartbreaking and heartwarming story of LIVING life with a terminal diagnosis. As a mom I cannot imagine the pain of cancer stealing my daughter, and while Andrea is Adrienne's sister, she was functionally her mother as well due to a biological mother who was the epitome of dysfunctional.

As someone with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, this hits book close to home. We all could take
Doug Kayne
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: I worked with Andrea, and knew Adrienne before she was stricken with cancer. She was fun and snarky. As a result, I was somewhat familiar with her story. I found Andrea's account of her and her sister's struggle in dealing with her disease incredibly honest and moving. Andrea's detailed retelling of how Adrienne faced her diagnosis and subsequent battle was a quick read, making me wish I had gotten to know this courageous teenager during this struggle. Knowing the people ...more
Michele Benchouk
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is an in-depth look at one family's experience with pediatric liver cancer. The writing is detailed and pulls you into the experience, but the level of detail may be too much. I think the details on treatment regimens and medications is valuable for others who may be thrust into this experience, but the book seemed to go on a bit too long. I hurt deeply for Andrea and Adrienne and John -- even though I understand that Adrienne felt like she had been blessed. We lost my mother suddenly, ...more
Cen-sational Reads
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Better off Bald by Andrea Wilson Woods.

Wow what a book. You are taken on a journey that I can only describe as brave yet raw, honest, positive and real. .

Two sisters Andrea and Adrienne have a unique, special unbreakable bond. That bond is tested to the max when Adrienne is diagnosed with cancer and as expected Andrea is right there by her sisters side throughout. .

Yet it is Adrienne who shows everyone that she has her inner strength, her zest for life and her determination to fight this horrid
Christine Cazeneuve
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have read many books on the journey of both the fighter and the caregiver over the years and this is the best of them all. Adrienne and Andrea not only have a truly special relationship which clearly shows throughout the book but Andrea's telling of this time makes you experience it right along with them both. Instead of just "observing the story" you will feel as if you are part of both of them and living the highs and lows right along with them. Andrea's writing style is open, extremely ...more
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Aside from the meticulous hard read, ‘better off bald’ is crisp, passionate, straight to the point and incredibly detailed. Nicely done. It made for an exceptionally informative read. Transitioning the narrative in a back and forth fashion as well allows readers to learn a little about Adrienne through her own notes and backstory. ‘Build Your Bliss’… great quote. The chemo quilt was quite touching, as were Dr. Aquino’s words on page 172. Those were poignant words that might make many readers ...more
Elaine Ciarnau
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Better off Bald is an amazing story of a young girl that was diagnosed with liver cancer and the sister that looked after her. A daily diary was kept from beginning to end of what was done, activities, feelings, etc.

It was an emotional, heartfelt and sad journey. The dedication of the sister was amazing, taking the place of the mother. She made sure her sister had amazing adventures and a lot of love.

This is a wonderful book for teens and adults alike. Keep a box of tissue close.

I received an
Andrea Tome
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
A heartfelt and very detailed book on terminal cancer and a beautiful tribute to the author’s fierce and creative sister. I started Better Off Bald in a flight back from Paris, not realizing how much it would touch me. Although it’s quite a long book, I felt the urge to keep reading. Andrea has a brilliant style and, as someone who has been in a palliative care unit taking care of a loved one with terminal cancer, I found myself relating to Andrea’s feelings and experiences so much.
A truly
Cristie Underwood
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
This biography written by the sister of Adrienne Wilson about her sister is heartbreaking, as Adrienne was a suicidal teen before being diagnosed with stage IV liver cancer. She decided at that point she wanted to live and
make the most of the time she had left, which turned out to be 147 days. Andrea writes about how she obtained custody of her sister and of their final days together. I highly recommend this book.
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story is a beautifully written true memoir of two sister as the go and navigate the medical system with the life and death struggle with liver cancer. The story is a good reminder of how precious life truly is.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A tough journey from healthy teenager to four stage liver cancer. Andrea tells a really tough, and heartwarming story about her beloved little sister and they fight against cancer.
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written memoir, my only criticism would be the repeatedly reports of each and every drug prescribed, I found this to be unnecessary. The story of this beautiful young girl was heartbreaking and I hope Andrea can go ahead and live the rest of her live in the happy place Adrianne would want for her beloved sissy.....
Muhemed Masika
Dec 22, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Take some hair

This is about a teenager that loves and is raised by her sister and has lived cancer..Her sister and her husband take care of her till she dies
(DNF @ 12%) Woods’s little sister Adrienne was more like a daughter to her; due to their mother’s issues, she had custody of her 13-years-younger sibling. So when Adrienne went to the hospital with severe pain in May 2001 and was promptly diagnosed with liver cancer, it hit her hard. “Before Adrienne got sick, I believed in karma. Now, I believe in nothing.” I read a ton of illness and bereavement memoirs. This one didn’t pull me in, despite strong recreated dialogue and an extraordinary memory ...more
Teresa Kander
This is an amazing memoir about two amazing young women. They are sisters, but the older is acting as the parent to the younger. When Adrienne is diagnosed with cancer, both of their lives change in an instant.

While you may expect this to be a sad story (and it does have its moments), there is a lot of happiness and positivity in the pages of this book. Even in the final days of Adrienne's life, she is an inspiration to everyone around her.

The book is very honestly written and gives great
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ANDREA WILSON WOODS is a writer who loves to tell stories, and a patient advocate who founded the nonprofit Blue Faery: The Adrienne Wilson Liver Cancer Association. Andrea is the CEO and co-founder of Cancer University, a for-profit, social-benefit, digital health company. With Cancer U, Andrea synergizes her talents of coaching, writing, teaching, and advocacy. For over ten years, Andrea worked ...more
“That cardboard represented the white trash side of my mother’s family I had been running away from my whole life.” 0 likes
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