Mrsgaskell's Reviews > In the Country of Illness : Comfort and Advice for the Journey

In the Country of Illness  by Robert Lipsyte
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's review
Aug 01, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: health, nonfiction, library, 8-star

In 1978 the author, then 40, was diagnosed with testicular cancer. It would be the first of several journeys into the land which he called Malady. He had a second bout of cancer in the nineties and also accompanied his first wife on her two excursions into the world of breast cancer. They faced their illnesses with humour (“tumor humour”) and learned to navigate the American healthcare system. He talked about “the dread” and I liked his reminder that when the dread strikes it is not that you are necessarily sick again, just that you are afraid again. He also talked about “beating chemo”, not cancer. This was a good book from someone who understands in the way that only those who have been there can. It was at times comforting but also sad when his ex-wife died. I agreed with her view that people should take their cues from her – if she was feeling that she was going to die, she didn’t want to be told that everything would be okay and conversely, if she was making plans for ten years in the future, she didn’t want to be told to be realistic.
My book rating: 8 stars

Library copy.

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