Monday, August 16, 2010

What We Have: Review and Giveaway

Cancer is a disease we all dread. Although there have been numerous advances in treatments and cures over the past few decades, we still have a considerable way to go and need to improve our ability to prevent, treat, and cure cancer in the future. What We Have: One Family's Inspiring Story About Love, Loss, and Survival by Amy Boesky is a memoir, published in 2010, in which cancer plays a central role. Cancer is never far from Amy's thoughts, because for generations the women in her family died young from ovarian cancer, before the age of forty-five. As a result, Amy's biological clock (an overused term, but it truly fits here) ticks all the more rapidly and forcefully under the dreary shadow of cancer.

Often I beat around the bush a bit before I deliver my "verdict" about any particular book. In this case, though, I'll announce right away that I was immediately and thoroughly engaged by this book. It is very well written, and I finished it rather quickly, in just a few days. I found the author's story, told with candor and grace (and a welcome dose of humor), very absorbing. I enjoyed reading about her romance and marriage to Jacques, an easy-going optimist by nature. Cancer has a profound influence over the lives of Amy and her sisters, Julie and Sara, and their mother, Elaine. In this sensitive, highly-detailed memoir, which is heartbreaking at times, relationships are at the very core of the story, close and often complex relationships, and I felt privileged to read this personal account of her life. (I have three sisters, and this book made me think about my own relationships with them, and with my mother, and about our connections as family members.) As a writer, Amy Boesky is not afraid to expose her anxieties, not just about cancer but about other things, too, such as being a mother, especially in those miraculous yet daunting early days with an infant. Ultimately, I felt inspired by Amy's story, because she presents the glass as half-full, and her courage on a daily basis is remarkable. Instead of lamenting her possible fate, she lives life to the fullest, in spite of her fears, and appreciates the glorious details of everyday life.


"That’s how it is for me, thinking about the future. Two different shapes. One holding time, the other escaping it. One suggesting fragility, confinement; the other, something transcendent. Turn it one way, you see an hourglass. Turn it the other way, and you see wings."
~What We Have, Amy Boesky

I think many others would be equally interested in and inspired by Amy's story. Penguin Group is generously giving away a copy of What We Have (U.S./Canada only).
  • To enter the giveaway for this book, simply leave a comment.
  • For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower, or that you subscribe in Google Reader.
  • For an additional chance, post about this contest on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter.
Enter by 5 PM PDT on Monday, August 30. One winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday, August 31. In October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, TLC will host a Book Club of the Month contest for this book, and one book club will win up to ten copies of this book, so if you're in a book club be sure to stop by TLC in October.

Special thanks to Lisa from TLC for including me on this tour. For more reviews of this book, please visit the other stops on TLC's blog tour for What We Have.

31 comments:

  1. Thanks for the opportunity!

    forsurveysonly at gmail dot com

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  2. that sounds like a touching memoir and what a lovely cover :) Amy's story does sound inspirational.
    I did read a memoir once written by a mother who was a cancer survivor. Its amazing how during such difficult times, someone can find so much strength within them.
    great giveaway suko!
    http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

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  3. The book sounds fantastic, but I just don't know if I can read it at this point in my life, so I'm going to skip the giveaway. Your review is wonderful.

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  4. This sounds like such a great read.

    kdurham2@gmail.com

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  5. I am a follower.

    kdurham2@gmail.com

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  6. It sounds like this is a really powerful read and one that deals with both the practicalities and the emotional components of life with cancer.I am glad that you were so engrossed with it and thought it was such a good read. I am not sure this one would work for me though, so I think I might skip the giveaway. I did appreciate hearing your thoughts though!

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  7. I like stories that show courage and inspirational. --Please count me in the giveaway. I'm already a follower. --I'll link this post on my sidebar. --Thank you.

    Have a good day.

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  8. Sign me up for the contest, I am already a follower. Thanks.

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  9. What We Have sounds heartrending. I can relate, having lost many family members to cancer.

    kzupancic[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  10. I am a follower of this blog via GFC.

    kzupancic[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  11. I tweeted the giveaway:

    http://twitter.com/KarenZupancic/status/21425500420

    kzupancic[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  12. I have survived cancer and love to read this novel.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com

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  13. I follow by google reader.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com

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  14. Great review! Even with the difficult subject matter, it sounds wonderful and inspiring. Thank you so much for being on the tour!!

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  15. I LOVE the cover :) And great review! I am sure I will give this a read, but do not enter me :)

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  16. Ovarian cancer is so hard to detect at the early stages and thus so difficult to treat once advanced.

    pboylecharley@hotmail.com

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  17. I am sure this is good, but we have a bad family history of the big C, so I have to pass. I think about it way too often as it is.

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  18. I'm a new follower.

    undermyappletree at gmail dot com

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  19. No need to enter me, I just posted this on win a book for you.
    http://winabook.westofmars.com/2010/08/18/what-we-have-by-amy-boesky/

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  20. I could not imagine having the constant fear and worry of cancer. I have many loved ones who have died of cancer so I do symphathize. I'd love a chance to read this book.

    unforgetable_dreamer_always(at)hotmail.com

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  21. Please count me in.

    simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

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  22. I follow

    simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

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  23. this sounds like a wonderful and inspiring book-another great review as always

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  24. I've read several good reviews about this one and want to read it.

    JHS
    Colloquium

    jhsmail at comcast dot net

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  25. Google follower and RSS reader.

    JHS
    Colloquium

    jhsmail at comcast dot net

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  26. I believe the Catholic Church teaches that those who are seriously ill have something special to teach the rest of us, and I don't mean that in a treacly way.

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  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  28. No need to enter me. I have a hard time with books on this topic, but your review was very thoughtful and makes the book sound really good.

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  29. No need to enter me, Suko, just wanted to say what a scary disease cancer is. So many of my friends have died from breast cancer, and just this Summer my husband's beloved cousin died from cervical cancer. A reminder to get poked and prodded for our annual exams, even if we don't want to!

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  30. Thank you all for your comments so far! More comments are welcomed of course. :)

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  31. Scary topic, great review.

    Have a great week, Bonnie

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