I thoroughly enjoyed reading Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists. I wasn’t sure that I would, but I found it an easy to read, fast flowing read, that I highly recommend to all.
Disclosure: I received this book to review through iRead Book Tours, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.
A breast cancer diagnosis at forty-nine forces Christine Shields Corrigan, a wife, mom, and meticulous list-maker, to confront her deepest fears of illness, death, and loss of control as she struggles to face cancer again. From the discovery of a “junky” cyst, to chemotherapy and surgery, sleepless nights filled with rosaries and “what ifs,” and shifting family dynamics, her adult experience mirrors her teen bout with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, with one exception—she no longer has parents keeping her in the dark.
With the ghosts of cancer past hovering around her, Chris falls into the same overprotective traps her taciturn Irish-Catholic parents created, striving to keep her family’s life “normal,” when it is anything but, and soldiering through on her own, until a neighbor’s unexpected advice and gift move her to accept others’ help. With fierce honesty, poignant reflection, and good humor, Chris shares a journey filled with sorrow, grace, forgiveness, and resilience, as she winds her way through cancer for the second time. Again offers practical guidance and hope to individuals that they have the strength to forge a path beyond a diagnosis.
This no-nonsense debut memoir recalls Corrigan’s two-time battle with cancer and takes a pragmatic approach toward guiding other patients. Candid, sagacious writing on illness and adaptation. –Kirkus Reviews
Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists is most definitely, not a book that I would normally read, but I have to tell you – I am so glad I did.
I am a huge child cancer advocate. I have family that has passed from cancer, but was none the wiser until after they passed (long story short, they were from my bio dad’s side. ‘Nuff said.) I have never known someone personally who was battling “the Beast”. I haven’t witnessed anyone going through it, but I know enough about it to know how unfair it is for children – hence the child cancer advocacy.
This book opened my eyes to the “behind the scenes” of “the Beast” – from doctor appointment to biopsy to waiting for results to treatment plans to treatment to surgeries. The pain. The anxiety. The fear. The unknown. The waiting.
The story was real, and in a sense, a little scary because of the reality of cancer. I didn’t find it dark, I found it to be a real life look at one someone battling “the Beast” goes through. Chris shared her thoughts, her worries, her fears, her good and her bad. It was a real life journey with someone diagnosed and treating breast cancer.
My favorite part of the book are the “Practical Reality” tips that she provided. Things you can say (or shouldn’t say) to someone diagnosed with cancer; things you can do for those diagnosed and going through treatment for cancer; symptoms; treatments for those symptoms; and terminology for things that come with diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
When it come to “things you can do”, I tell you what – giving this book as a gift is at the top of my list. I think this would be a great gift for someone newly diagnosed, scared of what is to come. Chris shares her journey so others can have an idea of what to expect and I know for me, that would ease a lot of anxiety of the “what ifs” and what I may face while going through treatment.
A great read, a great gift – this book is a must.
About the Author
Christine Shields Corrigan is a two-time cancer survivor, wife, mom, and author of Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists . In addition to Again , Chris has published a number of lyrical and practical essays where she gives voice to the beautiful ordinary. Her work about family, illness, writing, and resilient survivorship has appeared in anthologies, magazines, and other publications including, The Brevity Blog, Grown & Flown, Horn Pond Review, The Potato Soup Journal and Anthology, Purple Clover, Ravishly.com, Wildfire Magazine, and the Writer’s Circle 2 Anthology.
Chris’ essay, “Not Back to But Forward,” about how her cancer experiences helped her cope with COVID-19 is included in (Her)oics: Women’s Lived Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic (edited by Joanell Serra and Amy Roost), an anthology that draws together the stories of 52 women across the US during the Covid-19 pandemic (March 2021). A graduate of Manhattan College and Fordham University School of Law, Chris built a successful career as a labor and employment law attorney and as a legal writer and editor. After surviving cancer in midlife, Chris became a freelance writer. She also teaches creative nonfiction writing for an adult education program, provides writing workshops for cancer support groups, and is the chair of the programming committee of the Morristown Festival of Books. She lives in New Jersey with her family.
Read more memoirs:
Bound: A Daughter, a Domme, and an End of Life Story by Elizabeth Anne Wood
Bury Him: A Memoir of the Viet Nam War by Captain Doug Chamberlain
Perils and Pearls by Hulda Bachman-Neeb