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Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person: A Memoir in Comics

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Miriam Engelberg was forty-three when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Like anyone faced with a life-altering personal trauma, she sought out a coping mechanism. While fellow patients championed the benefits of support groups and hypnotherapy, Engelberg found her greatest comfort in drawing, her lifelong passion. Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person puts Engelberg's life Miriam Engelberg was forty-three when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Like anyone faced with a life-altering personal trauma, she sought out a coping mechanism. While fellow patients championed the benefits of support groups and hypnotherapy, Engelberg found her greatest comfort in drawing, her lifelong passion. Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person puts Engelberg's life in focus the best way she knows how - with cartoons. Her graphic approach to a very serious subject follows in the tradition of Art Spiegelman's award-winning Maus, but in her own offbeat, on-target, and darkly, devastatingly humorous style. From sex and wigs to nausea and causes - Was it overzealous cheese consumption or not enough multivitamins? - Engelberg leaves no aspect of cancer unexamined.


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Miriam Engelberg was forty-three when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Like anyone faced with a life-altering personal trauma, she sought out a coping mechanism. While fellow patients championed the benefits of support groups and hypnotherapy, Engelberg found her greatest comfort in drawing, her lifelong passion. Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person puts Engelberg's life Miriam Engelberg was forty-three when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Like anyone faced with a life-altering personal trauma, she sought out a coping mechanism. While fellow patients championed the benefits of support groups and hypnotherapy, Engelberg found her greatest comfort in drawing, her lifelong passion. Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person puts Engelberg's life in focus the best way she knows how - with cartoons. Her graphic approach to a very serious subject follows in the tradition of Art Spiegelman's award-winning Maus, but in her own offbeat, on-target, and darkly, devastatingly humorous style. From sex and wigs to nausea and causes - Was it overzealous cheese consumption or not enough multivitamins? - Engelberg leaves no aspect of cancer unexamined.

30 review for Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person: A Memoir in Comics

  1. 4 out of 5

    Laurel

    I intended to like this graphic novel. I almost feel bad that I didn't. It's about a woman who undergoes cancer treatment at a young age and takes up cartooning during the process to record her experience. I love the title of this book and it conveys a type of coping method that sometimes offends and is often overlooked as healthy: humor. I think it's fair to say that it's difficult to discuss life-threatening illness and Engelberg opens the doors of discourse by making her readers comfortable a I intended to like this graphic novel. I almost feel bad that I didn't. It's about a woman who undergoes cancer treatment at a young age and takes up cartooning during the process to record her experience. I love the title of this book and it conveys a type of coping method that sometimes offends and is often overlooked as healthy: humor. I think it's fair to say that it's difficult to discuss life-threatening illness and Engelberg opens the doors of discourse by making her readers comfortable and allowing us to laugh at all of the crazy human stuff that gets emphasized during an illness. I mean, we all have these gross, amazing, and sometimes uncontrollable bodies, and sometimes we don't feel all that connected to them. Cancer makes you really think about your body, in a very complex way. But something was missing for me in this memoir. I guess the humor protected her, and I don't discount that as a way of getting through the process of illness. I think as a reader, however, I didn't get enough of the other stuff to balance it out. I wanted to see some development of insight, I wanted to hear about her relationship with her young child more. I wanted to follow her further along in the process. She died after this book was published and I wonder if she continued reading "People" magazine and watching tabloid TV until the end. I kind of think I would, and maybe that's why I wasn't blown away by this. I related to it so much that it didn't contain any surprises.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Malia

    I read this immediately after being diagnosed with breast cancer and loved loved loved it. The clumsy drawing style put me off at first but I was quickly drawn into her humor and style. It was the perfect antidote to all those people looking at me with sad eyes and saying gently, "How are you?" Some days I wanted to be as shallow as fingernail polish and this book helped me to feel like that was not only okay but like it was a. . .what? A cool response to a wicked hard time. My daughter, 13 at t I read this immediately after being diagnosed with breast cancer and loved loved loved it. The clumsy drawing style put me off at first but I was quickly drawn into her humor and style. It was the perfect antidote to all those people looking at me with sad eyes and saying gently, "How are you?" Some days I wanted to be as shallow as fingernail polish and this book helped me to feel like that was not only okay but like it was a. . .what? A cool response to a wicked hard time. My daughter, 13 at the time, also read this and laughed out loud- we needed that. I read a huge stack of breast cancer books and this is one of three that I kept.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Charlene Mathe

    People look at me strangely when I say how much I love this book. Miriam Engelberg left us a wonderful gift in tracing with such realism and wit her day-by-day experience of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. It is unbelievable that cancer proved stronger than this vivacious and funny, not to mention beautiful woman. How is it possible that her memoir makes me laugh out loud and to the point of tears on nearly every page? I guess her book is not for everyone, but if you like (maybe) dark hum People look at me strangely when I say how much I love this book. Miriam Engelberg left us a wonderful gift in tracing with such realism and wit her day-by-day experience of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. It is unbelievable that cancer proved stronger than this vivacious and funny, not to mention beautiful woman. How is it possible that her memoir makes me laugh out loud and to the point of tears on nearly every page? I guess her book is not for everyone, but if you like (maybe) dark humor, you'll love this book, and you'll love this author!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Garden

    If you are one of these people who's like "comics has to be drawn good also the lettering better be TIGHT" might I suggest you sew yourself into a sack of dicks and huck your dumb carcass in the lake. This is a very very good read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kats

    Another breast cancer journey in form of a graphic memoir, alas, this is one that doesn't have a happy ending. I think it's a case of 'the right book at the wrong time' for me. Whilst Miriam Engelberg injects a healthy dose of humour into her drawings and the dialogues / thought processes, the book was certainly overshadowed by the sad fact on page 1 that "the author is survived by her husband and son". More serious and depressing than Cancer Vixen Miriam Engelberg's account of her breast cancer Another breast cancer journey in form of a graphic memoir, alas, this is one that doesn't have a happy ending. I think it's a case of 'the right book at the wrong time' for me. Whilst Miriam Engelberg injects a healthy dose of humour into her drawings and the dialogues / thought processes, the book was certainly overshadowed by the sad fact on page 1 that "the author is survived by her husband and son". More serious and depressing than Cancer Vixen Miriam Engelberg's account of her breast cancer instilled a sense of anxiety and gloom in me that I probably should try and do without at this point in my life. A very brave, honest and introspective read, though. I particularly like the fact that she admits that "cancer made me a shallower person"..... we can't all be saints or start turning our lives around in the face of adversity. Some of us simply need trashy TV or some other form of shallow distraction to get through the rough stuff. Kudos to Ms Engelberg.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Klein

    This book tracked my own post-cancer-diagnosis thought process beat for beat, from self-blame (did she cause cancer by eating too much cheese? Miriam Engelberg wonders), to worrying that your doomsday thoughts are foreshadowing in the movie of your life, to becoming hopelessly addicted to terrible TV. Either Miriam Engelberg and I have a lot in common, or breast cancer is a completely predictable, universal experience. I feel like she would hope it's the former, just like I do--although I'm sure This book tracked my own post-cancer-diagnosis thought process beat for beat, from self-blame (did she cause cancer by eating too much cheese? Miriam Engelberg wonders), to worrying that your doomsday thoughts are foreshadowing in the movie of your life, to becoming hopelessly addicted to terrible TV. Either Miriam Engelberg and I have a lot in common, or breast cancer is a completely predictable, universal experience. I feel like she would hope it's the former, just like I do--although I'm sure there are some common cancer threads. The hazard of reading even the most humorous cancer memoirs is that sometimes you Google the writer and learn that she's died. And when, two thirds of the way through the book, her cancer metastasizes, you think, "Well, I guess I know exactly how I'll feel if this happens to me, which is: pretty shitty." The drawings are terrible, but the writing is funny and fearless. This might be one of the most challenging super-simple-to-read books I've read. I hope that Miriam's essence is kicking back, doing a crossword somewhere.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Weiss

    First things first: don't let the title or the artwork scare you off. The title, if you can imagine it, is tongue in cheek -- like the rest of the book, it's at once honestly vulnerable, deeply personal, and improbably funny. The artwork, while messy, is as idiosyncratic and as interesting as handwriting. What might seem odd or challenging to read in the first few pages quickly becomes fascinating and subtly communicative, and is just as enjoyable as poring over every jot and tittle of a friend' First things first: don't let the title or the artwork scare you off. The title, if you can imagine it, is tongue in cheek -- like the rest of the book, it's at once honestly vulnerable, deeply personal, and improbably funny. The artwork, while messy, is as idiosyncratic and as interesting as handwriting. What might seem odd or challenging to read in the first few pages quickly becomes fascinating and subtly communicative, and is just as enjoyable as poring over every jot and tittle of a friend's handwritten note for the nuance and depth of its meaning. Engelberg handles her subject matter with a quirkiness that is nevertheless graceful and pensive, an honesty that is unflinching but eminently readable, as well as an attention to detail that is always illuminating -- and often surprisingly funny. An important counterpoint to quick and easy narratives about the experience of having cancer, this book offers a window into the layered complexity of diagnosis and coping, passing thoughts and odd surprises, self-blame and awkward conversations in spite of good intentions. Yet the author manages to convey these experiences with a lightness of touch that welcomes the reader without compromising a direct look at genuinely difficult experiences. The shortness and variety of the many stories here offers a rich variety of perspectives, moments, and emotional tones. For such a quick and seemingly simple read, "Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person" is impressively thoughtful and subtle, and never overwhelming despite the intensity of its subject matter. Through the ultimately charming pen-doodle drawing style and scrawled capital lettering come some unexpected lessons that we can all benefit from in treating others and ourselves with honesty and sympathy -- and, in spite of everything, maybe even a sense of humour.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    More and more I believe in comics as a very true way to communicate. And, I'm glad I have lived long enough to discover this! Similar to my discover/rediscovery of picture books; so much truth can be in a very small frame! I haven't had cancer myself, and don't know what it in store for me, but after watching and being with some loved ones who have survived, but are now gone, I know that it is so very different for everyone. And though the whole positive attitude thing might be what makes being More and more I believe in comics as a very true way to communicate. And, I'm glad I have lived long enough to discover this! Similar to my discover/rediscovery of picture books; so much truth can be in a very small frame! I haven't had cancer myself, and don't know what it in store for me, but after watching and being with some loved ones who have survived, but are now gone, I know that it is so very different for everyone. And though the whole positive attitude thing might be what makes being sick comfortable for those who are around you, who the heck wants to HAVE to be cheerful in the least, when traveling ground like this? This is a great book. Miriam Engleberg, cancer comedian. Woman, sick and well, scared and smart and crabby and telling it like it is.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stelleri

    True to life and astute.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Midge

    I imagine some cancer patients can relate to Miriam's reactions to all this cancer thing, reactions that are quite contrary to what people expect from someone diagnosed with cancer. Seems like a death sentence gives anyone the license to be shallow.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cara

    You know how whenever you hear about someone getting diagnosed with cancer, it always seems to make them realize what's important and devote their lives to that, and throw themselves into experiencing life at its fullest, and stop worrying about the little things, and love everybody? It seems like it's always something like that. This book is compelling because it presents a counter-example: someone who has none of those experiences... and actually admits it! It's told in a series of cartoons, m You know how whenever you hear about someone getting diagnosed with cancer, it always seems to make them realize what's important and devote their lives to that, and throw themselves into experiencing life at its fullest, and stop worrying about the little things, and love everybody? It seems like it's always something like that. This book is compelling because it presents a counter-example: someone who has none of those experiences... and actually admits it! It's told in a series of cartoons, many of which are very funny, and in a way, I found it a big relief that if I ever come down with a dread disease yet am not beatified by the experience, I won't be the only one. On the other hand, I was a bit depressed by how much I saw myself in the author. I guess I sort of assumed that, even though I really don't know what to do with myself now or have any grand Purpose or direction in life, one of two things would happen: I'd get some dread disease and have the big revelations everybody else gets about what's really meaningful and how to live life to the fullest and then do that; or I'd just be bopping along like usual and suddenly bite it before I had a chance to dwell on it. Either way, it seemed like it would all work out pretty well. But if it's not guaranteed that dread disease = enlightenment, it sounds like I'm kind of screwed. What are the chances that I'll just die suddenly? And even for ordinary stuff, I really hate the last few days (or months) of something--it always feels like there's this great pressure to really make it count, and that ruins it for me. So if it was the last X months of my life instead of the last month of summer vacation or whatever, I don't know how I'd stand it. Overall, quite depressing. I hope the author and I both figure it out.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Allie

    I really wanted to like this more, but so much about it fell completely flat. I really really support people drawing comics just because, even if you aren't super good at it. But I also feel like the more you draw the better you get at it, even if it's just a teeny tiny bit! You don't even have to try! You draw a lot, you get better at what you're doing, even if what you're doing is speech bubbles or repeated patterns or aliens or oncologists. I love atypical drawing/cartooning styles (like Laur I really wanted to like this more, but so much about it fell completely flat. I really really support people drawing comics just because, even if you aren't super good at it. But I also feel like the more you draw the better you get at it, even if it's just a teeny tiny bit! You don't even have to try! You draw a lot, you get better at what you're doing, even if what you're doing is speech bubbles or repeated patterns or aliens or oncologists. I love atypical drawing/cartooning styles (like Lauren Redniss, Esther Pearl Watson, and sometimes even Maira Kalman falls into that category); drawings that aren't your typical comic style, nor are they necessarily realistic or strictly representational. I think it's weird that Engelberg read a lot of comics (she referenced my favorite person, Lynda Barry!) and drew so often, and this is her final product. There were parts that I liked because she is relatable, but when she tried for jokes it was a lot like watching a multicam sitcom with a laugh track (really asking for the laugh), except it's a book and there's no laugh track! I was just generally pretty disappointed with this book. I wanted to like it, but I just didn't.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Vicki_Loves_Libraries

    LOL funny about a subject where laughs are hard to find. This darkly funny comic book memoir gave me brief reprieve from the pain of dealing with cancer. I laughed out loud. It feels good to release some of the pent-up emotion at the hand of someone who knows the agony of cancer. Engelberg's book was published in 2006. Sadly, she did not make it. My favorite parts of Engelberg's observations: "Booklet World" Engelberg observes that there is an upbeat educational booklet for almost every medical pro LOL funny about a subject where laughs are hard to find. This darkly funny comic book memoir gave me brief reprieve from the pain of dealing with cancer. I laughed out loud. It feels good to release some of the pent-up emotion at the hand of someone who knows the agony of cancer. Engelberg's book was published in 2006. Sadly, she did not make it. My favorite parts of Engelberg's observations: "Booklet World" Engelberg observes that there is an upbeat educational booklet for almost every medical procedure. No matter how unbearable the procedure is, the booklet has an illustration of a nature scene and images of insanely cheerful patients. Engelberg notes, "The tone of the booklet is always cool and calm." When her cancer metastacized, she admits that people's inspirational stories worked against her at that point. Miriam illustrates, "I considered carrying around a sign 'Lance Armstrong had a different form of cancer.'" Engelberg describes the bizarre mechanical sounds she heard during a brain MRI as being something from a Monthy Python movie. She suggests that the "Boom-a Boom-a", "Bada Boom Bada Bing", "ClackClackClack", "Plink Plink", and "Ding Dong" sounds are made by the Monty Python Team in the Control Room, and wryly states, "I never quite trust that MRIs are an actual medical procedure."

  14. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    At a glance, a lot of people didn't seem to like this book, but I did! The drawing is not great, not "professional" or impressive, but herein lies its strength for me, in a way; she makes herself accessible to us, she is not above us, she is one of us. The book catalogues her breast cancer.. and finally, she dies in 2006. Grim? Well, yes, but she is often very funny, and unfailingly honest in her wish to escape through tv, crossword puzzles…. anything not to think about it… and escapes through h At a glance, a lot of people didn't seem to like this book, but I did! The drawing is not great, not "professional" or impressive, but herein lies its strength for me, in a way; she makes herself accessible to us, she is not above us, she is one of us. The book catalogues her breast cancer.. and finally, she dies in 2006. Grim? Well, yes, but she is often very funny, and unfailingly honest in her wish to escape through tv, crossword puzzles…. anything not to think about it… and escapes through humor, of course. The point of this to counteract all the Cancer Made Me a Better Person or was a Gift or whatever books… she is often bitter, angry, confused, hurt… and filters that through humor. I liked it a lot and learned…. I read these books for the time I (might) get ill, to see how people cope. I learned. RIP, Miriam, and thanks.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mary Karpel-Jergic

    This book offers an antidote to all the cancer memoirs that suggest that cancer was the best thing to happen to them. Without depicting too much of the physical trauma that cancer brings in its wake, Miriam Engelberg manages to portray the psychological maelstrom that envelops the cancer patient along with all the comments, well meant or otherwise, from observers that often make the experience more daunting and inexplicable. Awfully sad, Miriam died in 2006, aged 48, from breast cancer diagnosed This book offers an antidote to all the cancer memoirs that suggest that cancer was the best thing to happen to them. Without depicting too much of the physical trauma that cancer brings in its wake, Miriam Engelberg manages to portray the psychological maelstrom that envelops the cancer patient along with all the comments, well meant or otherwise, from observers that often make the experience more daunting and inexplicable. Awfully sad, Miriam died in 2006, aged 48, from breast cancer diagnosed in 2001 and which in 2006 spread to her brain.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    This book was really good. It was funny and smart and I laughed quite a bit. Having been through breast cancer with my mom I could recognize a lot in it. I saw a lot of myself in the author, in her twisted sense of humor, her questioning nature and her aversion to all things hokey. It was hard to read just because of the familiarity and because I know how things turned out for her but I'm definitely glad I read it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I found this book both hilarious and profoundly touching. Miriam's sense of humor was fantastic, whether dealing with chemo or minor annoyances. The drawing style was so expressive. I also loved her embrace of her true nature.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Iliana Noory

    Such a hard topic. However, the author (peace be upon her) sad all those things people are so afraid to say.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Stef

    A sad, sweet story of a woman coping with her cancer via drawings and humor.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Susanj

    I recommend this book to anyone who now has, or has had in the past, a life-threatening illness, PROVIDED you find the title appealing -- it was PERFECT for me --

  21. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    The best breast cancer memoir... or, the one that made me laugh and say "YESSSSS THAT'S IT" most often.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laura Siegel

    Cartooning help this author greatly during her treatment for breast cancer. We are the grateful beneficiaries of her observation and humor.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lael Braday

    The cartoonist doesn't find religion, become an activist, or inspire others because something dreadful happened to her. Showing how she muddled through her cancer treatments in her own way through humor places this artist concretely on the ground. Had I experienced cancer, or at least known someone who had, I'm sure I would have looked at this book very differently. As it is, I see a real woman dealing with her horrifying experience in the best way she can, without preaching or pretense at super The cartoonist doesn't find religion, become an activist, or inspire others because something dreadful happened to her. Showing how she muddled through her cancer treatments in her own way through humor places this artist concretely on the ground. Had I experienced cancer, or at least known someone who had, I'm sure I would have looked at this book very differently. As it is, I see a real woman dealing with her horrifying experience in the best way she can, without preaching or pretense at superhuman strength or emotion. I appreciate the effort she took to show that trauma does not require a silver lining.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Monte

    Stricken with breast cancer at a disturbingly young age (43), Engelberg turned to cartooning to cope; the resulting work is both powerful and very funny. She starts at the very beginning, while awaiting her diagnosis. The story follows the cancer trail all the way through surgery, chemo, support groups, wigs, the distraction of cartooning, moving house while completely nauseated and the horror of a second diagnosis. In contrast to the heavy subject matter, Engelberg's artwork is naïve to the ext Stricken with breast cancer at a disturbingly young age (43), Engelberg turned to cartooning to cope; the resulting work is both powerful and very funny. She starts at the very beginning, while awaiting her diagnosis. The story follows the cancer trail all the way through surgery, chemo, support groups, wigs, the distraction of cartooning, moving house while completely nauseated and the horror of a second diagnosis. In contrast to the heavy subject matter, Engelberg's artwork is naïve to the extreme, though it has some charm. The true strength of the book is its fusion of the deadly serious with the absurd, in the finest tradition of black humor. Engelberg's narrative is riveting. She traces the trajectory of both her diagnosis and her growing obsession with the crossword puzzle in the newspaper's TV guide—"must...avoid...inner...thought... processes," she announces. The reader discovers the author's difficulties in appreciating life's special moments, and witnesses the many compliments she receives on her post-chemo wig. We follow the way the medical profession communicates, the things people say when they don't know what to say and the utter incomprehensibility of not knowing if you're documenting your own slow death. It's extremely honest and extraordinarily powerful.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Margot

    Yes! I loved reading this book, and I'm passing it along to friends fo sho. Neurotic, anxious, pessimistic; those qualities don't just disappear with a breast cancer verdict. Patients don't all turn into glowing "appreciate what God has given and focus on the positive" sort of people. And Miriam Engelberg walks the fine line between the pink ribbons and the "cancer sucks" stickers with an honest humor and wit that we can all relate to. This cartoon memoir has the feel of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home Yes! I loved reading this book, and I'm passing it along to friends fo sho. Neurotic, anxious, pessimistic; those qualities don't just disappear with a breast cancer verdict. Patients don't all turn into glowing "appreciate what God has given and focus on the positive" sort of people. And Miriam Engelberg walks the fine line between the pink ribbons and the "cancer sucks" stickers with an honest humor and wit that we can all relate to. This cartoon memoir has the feel of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, which makes me feel as if I'm peering into the mind of the writer. Reading this book was particularly rewarding after reading Barbara Ehrenreich's Bright-Sided, in which she lambasts the positive-thinking movement so popular in the US, particularly among the breast-cancer community. It was a bit more pleasurable to read Engelberg's take on her personal experience, with the funny bits instead of the skewer of anger.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Trophy

    Would make a good companion to "Wit" by Margaret Edson (who is a much better writer). Not really skilled at drawing but gets her point across. Very existential -- she ends up coping by becoming fixated on tv guide crosswords and "People" magazine. An excerpt: "I met with a friend who had breast cancer seven years ago. 'Whatever happens, this is a wakeup call for you about how you're living your life.' (Loves to garden, makes crafts, supports women with cancer.) 'Yea, you're right! This is a cha Would make a good companion to "Wit" by Margaret Edson (who is a much better writer). Not really skilled at drawing but gets her point across. Very existential -- she ends up coping by becoming fixated on tv guide crosswords and "People" magazine. An excerpt: "I met with a friend who had breast cancer seven years ago. 'Whatever happens, this is a wakeup call for you about how you're living your life.' (Loves to garden, makes crafts, supports women with cancer.) 'Yea, you're right! This is a chance for me to spend time doing what I've always wanted to do, which is . . . ?' Well, I would love to have been part of the Monty Python team . . . or be a full-time cartoonist for The New Yorker ('The June cover? No problem! I have lots of ideas!), or barring the above scenarios, have a complete personality transplant ('I'm sure everything will work out for the best, both for me and the world at large. I think I'll go bake cookies.). Meanwhile, I'm just waiting for the biopsy."

  27. 5 out of 5

    D'Anne

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I first read this book in 2010 and I can't remember why. It might have been the subject (my dad had colon cancer) or it might have been the fact that I like comics and memoirs. Fast forward to today when I myself have breast cancer and I thought I should read the book again. What I hadn't remembered was that Engelberg had stage 4 cancer. It had spread to her brain and her bones. I decided to Google her and learned that she died in 2006, the same year as, and shortly after as far as I can tell, t I first read this book in 2010 and I can't remember why. It might have been the subject (my dad had colon cancer) or it might have been the fact that I like comics and memoirs. Fast forward to today when I myself have breast cancer and I thought I should read the book again. What I hadn't remembered was that Engelberg had stage 4 cancer. It had spread to her brain and her bones. I decided to Google her and learned that she died in 2006, the same year as, and shortly after as far as I can tell, this book was published. Which is super sad. I hope her family finds comfort in the fact that this book exists. I'm not sure what made me give this book 4 stars five years ago because reading it now it makes so much more sense to me since I've actually been through some of what she went through early in her diagnosis. Maybe I somehow knew that my future self would benefit from reading it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Yichen

    This book is mainly about Miriam Engelberg dealing with cancer and how people around her react to the fact that she has cancer. At first, she rejected the idea that she has cancer, then the rejection slowly turned into anger and finally, at the end of the book, she slowly accepted cancer in her life. She also talks about how differently people with cancer and without cancer react when Miriam tells them she has cancer. This book mainly talks about the author's thoughts and how she overcomes probl This book is mainly about Miriam Engelberg dealing with cancer and how people around her react to the fact that she has cancer. At first, she rejected the idea that she has cancer, then the rejection slowly turned into anger and finally, at the end of the book, she slowly accepted cancer in her life. She also talks about how differently people with cancer and without cancer react when Miriam tells them she has cancer. This book mainly talks about the author's thoughts and how she overcomes problems rather then how people surrounding her help her to overcome difficulties. I really like this book, because it contains a lot of humor yet does not lack the main meaning of the story and the author's purpose. I really liked this book, it was a fast read because it was comic and yet it taught me something: being shallow is not necessarily bad.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alecia

    This is a "graphic memoir" told in a series of cartoons about one woman's experience with breast cancer. While certainly not a normally hilarious subject, Miriam Engleberg has made it a very human, touching journey, which is by turns hysterically funny, very knowing, and very poignant. I am considering doing a graphic memoir of my own and am looking through a few others to see how different people expressed themselves. Miriam was not a trained artist, but her cartoons are extremely effective and This is a "graphic memoir" told in a series of cartoons about one woman's experience with breast cancer. While certainly not a normally hilarious subject, Miriam Engleberg has made it a very human, touching journey, which is by turns hysterically funny, very knowing, and very poignant. I am considering doing a graphic memoir of my own and am looking through a few others to see how different people expressed themselves. Miriam was not a trained artist, but her cartoons are extremely effective and very funny. (view spoiler)[ As this small book progresses, the reader finds that Miriam's cancer has metastisized. She even finds the humor in what she has to go through and her thoughts and emotions, even at this stage. I googled her name and sorrowfully found out she had passed away.(view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)]

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emma Infiniti

    Interesting, honest, occasionally funny/ occasionally sad.

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