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It Takes a Worried Man
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It Takes a Worried Man

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  197 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
In September 2000, Brendan Halpin discovered that his thirty-two-year-old wife had stage four breast cancer. On October 7, he sat down to begin writing about what happens to a man who fears that his best friend might leave him forever.

While his wife’s condition is always in his thoughts, Halpin’s memoir focuses more on the day-to-day, moment-to-moment concerns of a young
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 3rd 2003 by Penguin Books (first published February 1st 2002)
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This is not the book I should have been reading at this exact point in time. I can be a total hypochondriac--but only about the big stuff. A few signs of a cold, eh. Doesn't faze me. But big, big stuff? I'm convinced that something major is going to happen. Take for instance breast cancer--I know I'm going to get it. Know it for a fact. Why, you might ask? No idea, but I know it's coming--it's just a matter of when. Then we can take the time when I was absolutely convinced that I was both pregna ...more
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down (while on the beach nonetheless - games and water did not entice me enough to put down this book) all weekend. The topic struck a very personal chord with me, as I'm sure it does with many people, but the similarities in Brendan's story to my own are striking. I love Brendan's style of writing - straightforward, honest, and real - "It Takes a Worried Man" reads like a journal entry. His brutal honesty is striking and makes the memoir all that m ...more
Aug 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2010
I love Halpin's writing easy to read and connect with. Even though the topic is dealing with his wife's cancer, I really loved this book and plan to read more of his work!
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephanie Hall
Jan 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love memoirs. This is a hard one to read, but the author is able to be so candid and his outright honesty is refreshing in the midst of his families tragedy.
Jun 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
Speaking of his preschooler having a tantrum she will say, "I hate everything! I want to smash the whole world!" And Halpin, "This is kind of how I feel all the time now. I guess I should be praying or meditating or something,in fact I think that's what I need to do to try to figure out how to live, but it just sounds so boring."
A memoir of a high school teacher, who's wife is going through cancer treatment. The subject is heavy but Brendan Halpin writes vividly on the tragedies of life
Apr 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
What I liked best about this was that it has everything that I've come to expect from reading Brendan's blog and some of his other books. He's smartassed, he's sad, he's a 14 year old in a 32-year-old's body...and most of all, he's real. He doesn't set out to write this platitude-filled account of the life-changing truths he learned as he watched his wife and best friend battle stage IV cancer. Rather, he lets us in on all the day-to-day stuff that goes on and lets us see him at his worst during ...more
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
The author writes this memoir when his wife is diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. His best friend and confidante, he can't think about facing life without her. This memoir was written with great honesty and humor - an incredibly scary situation made even more real. This was a great book, and I felt terrible for the author and his wife...however, an afterword tells us that less than a year after his "beloved" wife's death, he "falls in love" and remarries. Respect = honestly kinda lost.
Diane Sparks
Sep 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
A relatively light book overall, considering the subject matter. This is the story of a husband watching his wife undergo an experimental chemo treatment for her Stage IV breast cancer. It was a swift, at times surprisingly funny, and overall not terribly graphic read that warmed my heart and portrayed all parties involved as incredibly real. However, if you want to end on a high note, don't read the epilogue, which kind of spoiled the read for me.
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The book I'm reading is It takes a worried man. This book i would give a 5 of 5, because you can really connect with the author. He goes in depth with something very personal to himself. He maps out a real life struggle that a lot of people have to deal with. Why you are reading this book it paints a very nice picture of who you think is writing the book. I would want all to read this book to understand what it's like to lose someone you love to cancer.
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a candid and engaging account of the author's efforts to come to grips with the changes in his family's life after his wife is diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. He was so honest I kept wondering how his wife reacted to what he wrote. She was still alive when the book was published. We are used to hearing about the patient's experience. This book probes it is important for the spouse's perspective to be heard as well.
Feb 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like a long conversation with my best friend, dissecting the process of sickness of a loved one, of grief, the psychology of a survivor. Also, confusingly, the only Brendan Halpin book that I have not cried over. I'm glad that I waited until now to read it, and am sending it to my sister to read as well.

Jules Vilmur
Sep 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Having just finished "It Takes a Worried Man", I have to give Halpin props for one of the best last lines ever. Maybe BEST isn't the correct word. Maybe RIGHTEST is, except I'm pretty sure that RIGHTEST isn't a real word. In this case though, it should be.
Apr 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This memoir sounds like a real downer - written by a late-20s guy whose wife is diagnosed with breast cancer. But it's as funny, uplifting, and affecting as Operating Instructions. I read it twice in one day.
Jan 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Read this book more than once, then passed it along to a friend. Heartbreaking and funny at the same time. It is out of print now (I think) but worth tracking down.
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm glad to see this as an e-book so I can recommend it to others.
Ayelet Waldman
This memoir is about the author's wife's cancer diagnosis. It's incredibly touching, and very sad. And funny, too. It's hardly a work of genius, but it's good for a hormone-induced weep-fest.
Aug 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, memoirs
Beautiful book!

Read my full review here:
Jul 09, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction
Personally, I did not like this book as much as "Losing My Faculties." That's not to say that this wasn't a good book, it was - it just didn't seem as developed.
Sep 19, 2011 rated it liked it
This memoir of a man coping with his wife's breast cancer is honest,sincere,open and even funny.
rated it liked it
Dec 08, 2010
Katie Powell
rated it it was amazing
Sep 18, 2011
rated it it was ok
Nov 25, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Oct 09, 2009
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Jun 24, 2017
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Mar 14, 2012
Lisa Vegan
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Aug 30, 2007
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Nov 22, 2014
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Jul 10, 2012
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Feb 24, 2010
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I grew up in Cincinnati, went to college in Philadelphia, and also lived in Taipei and Edinburgh along the way. I've lived in Boston since 1991.

I became a professional writer in 2000, writing about my late wife Kirsten's breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Kirsten died in 2003, leaving me and our daughter Rowen. I married Suzanne in 2005 and got her kids Casey and Kylie in the deal too. Bargain

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