Monday, December 14, 2009

Between Me and the River

Between Me and the River Between Me and the River by Carrie Host

Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: August 1, 2009
ISBN: 9780373892143
Pages: 304
Price: $22.95
Author website

Book 49 of 50 for the New Author Challenge
Book 16 of 55 for the Countdown Challenge (2009)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. This is the first time cancer has really hit me in a personal way. I was excited to get the chance to review this memoir about a woman who is living with cancer, so I could attempt to step inside my grandmother's shoes for a little while to try to understand where she is coming from.

Carrie Host was not quite 40 years old when she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called carcinoid tumors in 2003. She had two teenagers and a 10-month old when she was finally diagnosed after a yearlong search of trying to find the culprit of her symptoms. She and her husband were able to have the best doctors money could buy from the Mayo Clinic to help with her treatment, and while there is no cure, Carrie has battled the odds and continues her fight today.

As a poet, Carrie's writing style is lyrical and she uses a lot of metaphor. I found the river metaphor to be a little overdone, but some of the passages were really striking.
Sometimes, while all is still but the rustle of leaves, I'll hear that angel's wings brushing the ice, and feel that strong pull, lifting my heart from the cold, dark water, and I'll weep.
The author clearly has a very comfortable life financially and she never really addresses that, other than to say she feels guilty that she has good health insurance. I couldn't help but think that most people could not afford to fly from Colorado to Minnesota on an hour's notice to get emergency treatment from the experts, to fly to New York to talk to a specialist, to get expensive jewelry, go on exotic vacations, or to get a housekeeper or a full-time nanny as she did. While I certainly don't begrudge her those things, in fact I think they have truly saved her life, I think an acknowledgment of her financial security might have helped to build a bridge between her and a reader who has no choice but to be treated from local doctors at a local hospital.

Sometimes at the end of chapters, Carrie has a paragraph that begins, "Cancer is like that." Truth be told, I think there are a lot of trials that are "like that" and I think there is a universal application in Carrie's words for whatever struggle you may be going through.

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Source: Publicist Lisa Roe - Thank you!


StephTheBookworm said...

This looks like a worthwhile read. I think I'll check this out. I had a friend who passed away from cancer, and it is nice to be able to see stories of survivors.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Thanks for the tip. I'm also interested in survivor stories involving cancer.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Steph said...

I am sorry to hear about your grandmother's illness. My grandma, father in law, and stepmother died of cancer though of course, for many, the prognosis is positive.

This sounds like an interesting memoir. Thank you for the review!

bermudaonion said...

I think I'd have to be in the right mood to read a book like that.

Shona said...

Nice review .. I am putting it on my TBR list..

Violet said...

I agree with you 100%. She was certainly well off than most of the people but still her memoir will resonate with people suffering from cancer in some way or the other.

Thanks for the linky.

Beth F said...

I agree that it was hard to relate to her because she seem to take her financial security for granted.