First Book Review Published: “WHAT TO EAT IF YOU HAVE CANCER (A GUIDE TO ADDING NUTRITIONAL THERAPY)”

Basically, I’m just supposed to be continuing what was supposed to be finished last November. But heck, I’m so near-finished now and I’m loving this theme I came up with, anyway. It’s making me want to continue writing again. I just almost gave up a few weeks ago (more on that some other time). I’m happy to share more of myself. So, to continue…

Day 26 of the #NaNoPoblano2021 challenge, now a.k.a. “NaJanPoblano2022” (heee….) . Major Theme: “A Few of My Earliest Things”. New sub-theme: “First Published”. Related post: My Evolution as a Writer. Related page: Critic’s Corner.

Until I joined the Philippines’ first (and maybe only) cancer-focused magazine, I had never really done a book review outside school. It was not something I was sure I was good at. Honestly, I’m still not sure I’m good at it. The best I can say is “I try.” I had no plans of writing any until the Publisher/Boss asked me to review a book that someone recommended to her. So I did and had my FIRST BOOK REVIEW PUBLISHED.

The book was “What to Eat if You Have Cancer” by nutritionist-authors Maureen Keane, MS and Daniella Chase, MS. I hardly imagined that I’d review a book for cancer survivors, let alone, a book giving dietary guidelines. I’m a fiction girl, ergo, I expected to review fiction if I would ever. But there I was. I also tended to write longer, so writing this short one was a challenge. I did it, though. I survived my initiation. The book is most probably very outdated now. I haven’t checked if they’ve written any updated ones.

After that, I would go on writing two more cancer-related non-fiction reviews. Surprisingly, it was I who volunteered! Those were books that I found. One was “My Breast” by former journalist Joyce Wadler and the other, “Cancer Schmancer” by comedienne Fran Drescher. I have shared both reviews here in my blog. These experiences gave me the courage to try and join a call for book review submissions. If you are interested, I reviewed Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” and Victor Hugo’s classic “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.

Anyway, I think it’s possible to read the words on the image that I have provided if you just enlarge it, except I just found out now that light reflected on some parts. Sorry! I know I have the soft copy somewhere but I have to find it first.

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“JUST KIDS by Patti Smith” #MondayReviews

For today’s review, I give you my friend, Tobe Damit of Loud Alien Noize and his review of Patti Smith‘s

“Just Kids”

Tobe posts this totally magazine-worthy articles that may cater to certain people’s interest and, sometimes, repel others, depending on where in the artistic appreciation spectrum you are. Do check him out, know more about Tobe Damit.

My Breast ~ Joyce Wadler

Cancer: Zero

A journalist gets more personal with cancer

My Breast

By Joyce Wadler

176 pages

my-breast-bookMy Breast—no words could not be more apt than that. In Joyce Wadler’s book, her breast gets top billing and lands the title-role, having gained her respect as a separate entity with the power to destroy her. She learned it the hard way after all when in 1991, breast cancer interrupted her in the middle of working for People magazine as an investigative journalist, writing her dream book, freelancing for another publication, and trying to keep a rocky relationship stable.

The book actually starts with Wadler discussing where she wanted her lumpectomy scar—a bit of vanity there, she knows—and how she looked her tumor “in the eye.” Her sometimes matter-of-factly, no-nonsense approach already sets the tone to how she later discusses her life in succeeding chapters.

Wadler tells her story with honesty, warmth, wit, sometimes self-deprecation, feistiness, and street smarts. She launches a bit on her family and professional background that indirectly explains what and who she is. Inevitably, she has to mention a lover who is admittedly obsessed with someone else and whose support is not really all there. Hey, it’s her life, right?

Bright and humorous, she tackles her story with a light, sometimes funny, touch, like how she talked of her lump: “I’m starting to feel this thing has a life of its own…like it’s gonna come flying out of my body any minute, like that thing in Alien, and run around the living room and put on the sports channel and ask for a beer.” Most important, Wadler knows her readers want the truth and so she gives it to them.

In details, she describes what it felt like going under the knife (she opted to be awake), under treatment, under inner turmoil while she tried to be brave. She even describes how breast reconstruction is done. It is like a blow-by-blow account of a sort, very informative.

Medullary carcinoma, stage 2, that was what she had despite annual mammograms and having no history of breast cancer in the family. Hers is rare and quite curable, but then it is not something to be lax about. In most part of the book, Wadler tells of doing her own research (force of a journalist’s habit, perhaps), being very inquisitive to doctors and seeking second opinions. She laments how her pool of surgeons seemed to have contradicting opinions prompting her to ask a nursing assistant who exactly was in charge. She finally got her best answer: “…in a sense, you are.”

And so Wadler decided to have a more take-charge manner, making all the decisions when it came to her cancer. The book then ends while she is just sessions shy of completing chemotherapy.

My Breast was actually first published on April 13, 1992 in the New York magazine, stressing the importance of early detection and getting second opinions. It’s surprising readership success then led to Wadler expanding it to a whole book that also became a hit. Much later, it was to be made into a film shown on CBS Television.

Considering the year it was written, some bits of information are a bit antiquated, what with the advent of newer technologies now like the digital mammogram. However, her story is history and the book as a whole is still quite helpful and informative. Cancer, after all, is yet to be obsolete and who best to understand survivors than those who are survivors themselves?

After the book, the author became an advocate of breast cancer awareness, speaking at seminars about her bout with cancer. It was a bout she eventually won.

Score – Joyce: One, Cancer: Zero.” Yes, she kept score.

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NOTE: This article was published in The Big C magazine (exact date to follow). To see more reviews, please visit my CRITIC’S CORNER….Thank you!

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame – Victor Hugo

My second book review for 1001 Books to Read Before You Die: THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. Come and join The Reviewers! You just might win their contest, too 😉

1001 Books to Read Before You Die

Book #922

Reviewer: J. Gi Federizo


THONDForget Disney. If you’re reading TheHunchback of Notre-Dame(The Hunchback) for the first time, I’m telling you, NEVER pre-judge a book especially by its animated film version. I grew up watching Disney, but quite frankly, it has this annoying knack of messing up the literary classics. Like The Little Mermaid living happily ever-after with her Prince, and even having a spawn in the sequel! I’m surprised there’s even a sequel. That’s classic murder, to be figurative and blunt about it.

So don’t expect the book to be as fine and dandy as the animated adaptation. Consider yourself very sufficiently warned.

Originally titled Notre-Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris), Victor Hugo’s novel is undoubtedly set in Paris, year 1482. Quasimodo, the deaf and horribly deformed hunchback bell-ringer, attempts to abduct the Gypsy girl hailed as La Esmeralda. The attempt is somehow…

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The Color Purple – Alice Walker

Sometimes, I can be so absent-minded. That’s why I had forgotten that rather than just put a link to this review by making a new post two entries ago, I should’ve just hit “Reblog” from the review page itself. Anyway, I am reblogging now, and letting you know that you can write about any of the books from their list. That is, as long there are no reviews of your chosen books yet (words in blue if reviewed) or are not yet reserved for other reviewers who have expressed their intent to write about them (bolded words in black). Here’s the list: http://1001bookreviews.com/the-1001-book-list/

I am currently working on THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME.

Lemme know if you have constructive comments. there’s space for you down below 🙂 Oh and feel free to hit LIKE here and/or on the review page itself 🙂

1001 Books to Read Before You Die

Book #272
Reviewer: J.Gi Federizo

 

The Color PurpleFourteen years old and Celie was already one big mess—pregnant, poor, under-educated. And black, lest we forget. How could Celie even think of leading her life differently? As her future husband said, “You black, you pore, you ugly, you a woman…, you nothing at all.”

The Color Purple starts with Celie writing a letter – a confession – to God. She has just been molested by her own father. Pa has told her to never tell on him unless she wants her mama to die of heart break, so she doesn’t, but the sick mother dies anyway. Celie is forced to be the surrogate mother of the house. Such is the life she is left to accept. But then Pa seems to be setting his eyes lately on Celie’s younger sister and this worries her.

Celie is eventually married off to widower Mr. _______…

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Read at Your Own Risk

Weeks ago, I decided to join a book review group, the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die. Of course, this is a chance to share my thoughts, plus it’s really to force me to make reading a habit again and to force me more to practice what I ought to, which is to write, write, write! It’s a case of hitting three birds with one stone 😉

So, how coincidental that my first review was that of The Color Purple, and who should make it to the news now but the Steven Spielberg-movie version’s stars Oprah Winfrey and Rae Brown Chong. Oprah played Sofia, first wife to Harpo (just try to read that name backwards) and Rae was Squeak/Mary Agnes, second wife)? So coincidental, too, that in a sort of way, the issue they are facing now sort of reflects an aspect of the story. Ironic, actually, that the latter should make racist comments against another belonging to the same race.

Anyway, if you want to have an idea of what the story is about, you can find my review here:

THE COLOR PURPLE

the-color-purple-book-review

This is my first review at the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die

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Please LIKE if you indeed like it. But regardless of whether you do or not, just read it anyway and the other reviews. Then read the actual books, or submit your own reviews even 🙂

Any constructive comments? Feel free to message me here…ENJOY!!!