Full of passion, hope, and despair, this is an extraordinary book about the journey through a devastatingly common disease.
Sarah Gabriel intended to write a novel about relationships. After a troubled, unhappy upbringing that saw the deaths of her mother and aunt, she now had a loving partner and two beautiful children, and finally felt secure in her world. Then, at 43, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and she realized that while you can turn your back on your past, you can never escape your genetic legacy.
This is not an account of how to accept the inevitable. It is a fight; a fight to survive, to stay sane, to protect her children from sharing the terrors that kept her awake at night and to stop BRCA1, the rare and deadly genetic mutation that had caused her cancer — from claiming another victim. It is a book about mothers and about motherless daughters and about love and fear. It is a book that is both beautiful and brutal, revealing how small moments of tenderness can illuminate a day, while a thoughtless action — a friend turning away for fear misery can be contagious — can almost break you. But it is also a memoir of breast cancer itself, from its first identification in the nineteenth century through to the founding of a hospital to help sufferers, and the treatments developed to fight it.
Sarah Gabriel’s memoir exposes what it means to live in a world where medicine is sophisticated enough to identify the dangers that lie within our genes but not always powerful enough to defuse that danger. Laced with black humour, and full of passion, hope, and despair, this is an extraordinary book about a devastatingly common disease.
From the Hardcover edition.