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Why I Wore Lipstick: To My Mastectomy
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Why I Wore Lipstick: To My Mastectomy

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  659 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Her book's catchy title belies its substantial content: this is an honest, perceptive memoir from a feisty survivor who's willing to discuss every detail, like getting sick in cabs during chemo treatments, baldness and sex. - Publishers Weekly

Having recently graduated from Columbia Journalism School and landed her dream job at 20/20, the last thing 27-year-old Geralyn expe
Paperback, 208 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2004)
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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Zee Monodee
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: What it feels like to be diagnosed with breast cancer and living through/with it
As a breast cancer survivor myself (2x, actually), this is one book that totally resonated. I was nodding along much of the way, because this IS what goes on in the mind and heart of someone diagnosed with breast cancer and having to go for a mastectomy. I loved how Ms. Lucas emphasized that breasts is not the only thing making a woman feminine - it also comes in attitude, in that lipstick (red or otherwise).
My only beef is that this happened to her a long time ago, and what her options were are
Kristen Putch
Nov 19, 2011 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings on this book, which sounds harsh about a book written by a cancer survivor. The book certainly had some powerful elements, especially with the trauma of being diagnosed and the decision to have her breast removed, and the pain and struggle the followed. However, there were certain parts of the book that just seemed overly gratuitous. Geralyn became a poster girl for breast cancer because of her job and her connections, and that's great. But her story didn't speak to the ave ...more
Feb 26, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-reading
I started this book shortly after finding out my 26 year old sister had found a lump and needed an ultrasound and mammogram. Thankfully its not cancer but it gave us all a scare. I figured what better book to read while awaiting my sisters results. What I got with Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy is a book about a young woman who was so beautiful that doctors cried over the fact she would lose her breast. She was so beautiful that cabbies stopped to cry with her and kiss her hand when she to ...more
Susan Swiderski
If you only read one book about breast cancer in your life, it should be this one. The gutsy author was diagnosed at the age of 27, and this is her raw tell-it-like-it-was story, with all of of the ups, downs, ins, and outs of gut-wrenching fears and self-doubt, and the ordeals of surgery, chemotherapy, and reconstruction. It's a story of the courage and determination of a brutally honest woman, who learned the hard way who she is, and what really matters. And it's a story of grace, good humor, ...more
This was a good memoir of breast cancer, but it was a very specific memoir, I think.. the memoir of a girl who had it all... the perfect job, perfect husband, "perfect" life... before the cancer hit. Moving story, but I can't help but wonder if she exaggerated... did the doctor really cry? Did strangers really tell her it was a shame for someone so beautiful to get cancer? Maybe that's irrelevant. It's a good read for what it is. ...more
Nov 13, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's been years since I read this autobiography, but I remember quite well feeling annoyed that Geralyn Lucas found it important to (embellish?) that the experienced doctor wept over the thought of such a physically attractive woman to suffer with breast cancer. For a more honest take on breast cancer, try Nordie's at Noon instead ...more
Murlene Leech
Feb 02, 2020 rated it liked it
I have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and this was the first book on the subject I picked up. It was well written and well told. I cannot imagine being diagnosed with breast cancer at 28 as she was. The first thing I did was google the author and was so happy to discover that she is alive and well, 53 years of age, still married and has two grown children.
Kristine (fezabel)
Jun 25, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: biography-memoir
Overall, this book is good. It's funny. It might be inspiring in parts. You could call it realistic and honest. I picked it up to read about 'what it means to be a young girl with cancer in a beauty-obsessed culture'. It's actually the story of what happens when the Perfect Life is tainted with cancer.

There are too many references to that Perfect Life. The author is a name-dropper and talks about all the people she knows and how they contributed to her successful recovery. Barbara Walters sent
May 04, 2007 added it
Recommends it for: womyn
The book was turned into a Lifetime Original movie. (Obviously). I've never read it nor have I seen the movie. The title did inspire me, however, to wear red lipstick to my molesectomy I will be having this afternoon. In this way, I will be symbolically reclaiming my womanhood even after my mole is gone. On that note, lets share these words of Pink and India Arie:
"I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am not your expectations no no
I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am a soul that lives within"
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
I have mixed feelings about this book. Should I really criticize a book written by a cancer survivor? I'm glad that it has helped some women and people feel inspired by her story. I felt like she was very privileged and wonder how the average woman struggling to get by would feel reading this. She gets nine second opinions, Barbara Walters sends her flowers, she gets a haircut and is featured in a magazine! You get the idea. I was incredulous that everyone she told burst in to tears or otherwise ...more
Apr 08, 2007 rated it it was ok
This book is NOT for the faint of heart. I read it looking for general life inspiration - I came away from imbued with morbidity and absolutely convinced that if faced with this challenge, I would not survive. This is not to say that someone else could benefit greatly from reading it - I just wasn't quite prepared for the hundred pages of horror stories. It's safe to say that in my already-depressed state, this book successfully launched me into a state of existential crisis. (Good choice, Morga ...more
Crystal Haddock
Nov 02, 2012 rated it liked it
This book was a gift from a college friend to me after my mastectomy. My friend ironically was diagnosed with breast cancer in May, while I was diagnosed in August. I think what I noted most is that this journey can be handled differently by different people, and though I appreciated Geralyn telling her story and detailing how she coped I did not relate to her as closely as one would expect. Of all things I liked the most was her getting a tattoo of a heart with wings at the end of her scar rath ...more
Lisa Heiberger
Jan 19, 2010 rated it did not like it
This book annoyed the bejesus out of me. Out of the 3 breast cancer related books I've read lately, this one was one I thought I'd relate to the most. She was diagnosed @ 27 and endured all kinds of stuff. Well, unfortunately, her personallity and writing style just bugged me too much and I didn't enjoy this book one bit. I must admit that I left it with 10 pages left to go. I just didn't care to waste anymore time with it. ...more
Jul 29, 2011 rated it liked it
This book seems to want very hard to be fierce, but it could probably have been told in half as many words. There's a lot of repeated information in here. Also, I understand that each person struggles, grieves, and moves on in different ways, but this book is pretty much as frivolous as the title suggests. It's not a terrible read - it's mostly engaging, however, there just isn't much substance to it. ...more
I did not like her particularly--there was a lack of self-awareness and perspective that was at times astounding--and I felt like the whole was more of a diary than what should have been a highly edited and published memoir, but the occasional insights she illuminated made it worth reading.
Nov 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I worked with Geralyn and got a signed copy of her incredible book. She is one inspirational woman!
Sandy Cee
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Like many other women who have read, are reading, or will read this book I had breast cancer. I think I did a search somewhere and this book came up as a must read. It sounded greaat. Funny, poignant and sad all at once. I just had to find a copy of it.
I did a search online and found it online somewhere in South Australia. I began reading it before I went into hospital for my mastectomy. All the way through it I was determined I too would wear lipstick to mine. Sadly on the day, I didn't cos the
JoAnn M
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I heard Geralyn speak at an event for cancer survivors, and she told her inspirational story. Her book is also inspirational. Although she did drop a lot of celebrity names (she was a producer at 20/20), the best parts of the book were hearing about all her angels that helped her through her journey of diagnosis, surgery, chemo and afterwards.
Christine (Queen of Books)
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Heavy topic, but still a fast read -- read like a blog (not in a particularly bad or good way). Felt like she was being honest about her experience, and I appreciated the intimate look into this part of her life.
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book read like an autobiography for me. I loved it and her humor. I had a very similar outlook during my breast cancer and it inspired me to write my story.
Julia Sienski
May 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Ngl I do not think Geralyn Lucas and I would be friends in real life. Sam gave me this book and I literally had to drag myself through to the finish line. Tough.
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
A well-written memoir in which the author describes her diagnosis, treatment, and survival from breast cancer.
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
"Why I Wore Lipstick" resonated with me on a personal level. My mum and I are both cancer survivors and can fully understood what Geralyn Lucas went through from diagnosis to treatment. Our cancers may have been different, but I related to her feelings of loss and ultimately hope for the future.

One of my favourite parts of this book was when Lucas met a larger than life taxi driver whilst on the way to her mastectomy. I cried when he stopped the taxi to tell his story (I won't reveal exactly wh
Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Twenty-seven-year-old Geralyn Lucas landed her dream job at 20/20. She was ready to have children with her husband. But life threw an unfortunate monkey wrench into her plans. Geralyn Lucas was diagnosed with breast cancer. She knew something was wrong with the lump found during a self-exam. She really knew it was bad news when two men in white coats stood before her in the examination room, both of them crying. One of them being her husband.

Why I Wore Lipstick to my Mastectomy begins with Geral
Noga Ziv
Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I think this book is amazing! I feel like I got a chance to go through Geralyn's breast cancer story, and experience her good and bad moments. She always shares her feelings about everything that happens, and I honestly feel honored to read these things that were written from her truest place. This book made me sometimes feel sad and hopeless, and sometimes extremely happy and thankful. This book changed my way of thinking because it teached me to appreciate life, and not to take things from gra ...more
April Harzynski
Apr 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
My friend Angela gave me this book right before we did the Susan G Komen 3 Day Walk in August of 2006. The walk is to help raise money for Breast Cancer research and to help those who can't afford to pay for treatment. I will never forget that experience and this book tells the true story of a very young woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer, beat it and then went on to have a child. It is just an eye opener of what thousands of women have gone through, are going through, and more will go t ...more
Nov 10, 2008 added it
I loved this book. It was a gift from my mother a couple of months after my mastectomy. We were headed to the beach for vacation. The author did a great job of describing the entire process of finding out you have cancer to surgery, chemotherapy and then reconstruction. And she did it with the appropriate amount of seriousness (when needed). It was peppered throughout with wonderful wit and humor. I laughed out loud a lot and had to keep reading passages to my sister on the beach. I've recommend ...more
Jun 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I appreciated the very open and honest way Geralyn tells us about her batle with breast cancer. Considering the subject matter, it was a compelling and quick read. I enjoyed her writing style and blunt way of sharing her fears, her hopes, and her personal and gritty experiences.

I only gave it three stars, however, because it was a bit jumpy in the telling of it. She would be in the middle of telling us something and then jumped to another story that I wasn't sure if it was before or after the on
Mar 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Although I thought this book had a lot of fluff and celebrity name-dropping in it, i enjoyed Geralyn's account of the fight of her life with Breast cancer.

She poignantly told of her frustrations with the disease from diagnosis to the aftermath of getting her life back on her terms.

And yes, America is a breast-obsessed society of both men AND women. But I wonder if Geralyn's journey through the darkness of disease would have been different if she didn't work for 20/20 and didn't have a doctor fo
Aug 14, 2009 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. It wasn't an easy book to read, due to the nature of the subject matter, but it was interesting. I'd recommend this book to women with cancer, their families and caregivers. One of the hardest things about being a healthcare provider is understanding the emotional concerns that plague my patients. This book gives a very honest view of a young woman's battle with breast cancer and the many different ways that her life changes and the challenges she faces with her physical and ...more
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