Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person: A Memoir in Comics
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Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person: A Memoir in Comics

by Miriam Engelberg
     
 

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a cartoonist examines her experience with breast cancer in an irreverent and humorous graphic memoir.

Overview

a cartoonist examines her experience with breast cancer in an irreverent and humorous graphic memoir.

Editorial Reviews

Harriet Lerner
“So funny, so sad, so daring, so honest, and so utterly human that I couldn’t put it down.”
Los Angeles Times
“...a triumph of imagination and spirit.”
Daily Telegraph (London)
“...a spirited perspective...”
SF Weekly
“The most important thing to know about Shallower is that it’s funny.”
Publishers Weekly
Stricken with breast cancer at a disturbingly young age (43), Engelberg turned to cartooning to cope; the resulting work is both powerful and very funny. She starts at the very beginning, while awaiting her diagnosis. The story follows the cancer trail all the way through surgery, chemo, support groups, wigs, the distraction of cartooning, moving house while completely nauseated and the horror of a second diagnosis. In contrast to the heavy subject matter, Engelberg's artwork is na ve to the extreme, though it has some charm. The true strength of the book is its fusion of the deadly serious with the absurd, in the finest tradition of black humor. Engelberg's narrative is riveting. She traces the trajectory of both her diagnosis and her growing obsession with the crossword puzzle in the newspaper's TV guide-"must...avoid...inner...thought... processes," she announces. The reader discovers the author's difficulties in appreciating life's special moments, and witnesses the many compliments she receives on her post-chemo wig. We follow the way the medical profession communicates, the things people say when they don't know what to say and the utter incomprehensibility of not knowing if you're documenting your own slow death. It's extremely honest and extraordinarily powerful. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Engelberg, a comics artist and author (Planet 501c3), was just 43, with a four-year-old son, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. Upon first hitting the road to comics-dom, she had immersed herself in autobiographical works by the likes of Harvey Pekar and Mary Fleener, so it seemed the perfect venue for her own memoir. And those who think that breast cancer can't be funny will laugh in spite of themselves at Engelberg's irreverent take on the disease. Think Cathy, but cheekier. As Engelberg explains in her introduction, "I felt pressure to become someone nobler and more courageous . But maybe the path of shallowness deserves more attention!" She describes her experience in terms of pop culture, TV shows, and celebrity poker. We can all relate, right? Engelberg's cancer has metastasized, and her future is uncertain. But her book is always witty and thought-provoking. One lesson from this god-awful disease: finding a way to cope is half the battle. Highly recommended for public libraries.-Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060789732
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/25/2006
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
554,980
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.32(d)

What People are saying about this

Harriet Lerner

“So funny, so sad, so daring, so honest, and so utterly human that I couldn’t put it down.”

Meet the Author

Miriam Engelberg was forty-three when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Like anyone faced with a life-altering personal trauma, she sought out a coping mechanism. While fellow patients championed the benefits of support groups and hypnotherapy, Engelberg found her greatest comfort in drawing, her lifelong passion.

Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person puts Engelberg's life in focus the best way she knows how — with cartoons. Her graphic approach to a very serious subject follows in the tradition of Art Spiegelman's award-winning Maus, but in her own offbeat, on-target, and darkly, devastatingly humorous style. From sex and wigs to nausea and causes — Was it overzealous cheese consumption or not enough multivitamins? — Engelberg leaves no aspect of cancer unexamined. In this remarkable "memoir in comics," she takes a clear-eyed, deliciously sardonic look at caring friends and relatives, doctors, treatments, and support groups while never losing her guarded optimism and, most important, her sense of humor.

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