In 2009, Mary Cappello published a memoir that bravely, and intimately, focused on her cancer diagnosis, treatment, and “cure.” This prize-winning book has now been rereleased with an afterword by the author. The text is timely, given our national and world focus on health, disease, death, and immortality, sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Susan Sontag and Elaine Scarry laid out the theoretical underpinnings for Cappello in the late 1970s and 1980s, and physician/writers have long animated American readers, particularly Abraham Verghese and Oliver Sacks. Cappello's book is neither theoretical nor “medical”: she is a forceful writer of nonfiction; she is an extraordinarily insightful reader of literature; she is deeply in love with her partner—she is in love with everything, especially the life that took on renewed meaning after her cancer diagnosis.

So this is really a book about love. And gratitude. The author reminds us constantly of her privileged position...

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