Lopsided: A Memoir

( 2 )

Overview

By the age of thirty -four , Meredith Norton had been a hymnal editor, art restorer, game-show producer, and a public school teacher. She'd even lived in a tree house and shepherded goats in Minorca. But none of these unusual experiences prepared her for the most dramatic turn her life would take: the diagnosis of an aggressive form of breast cancer. In this brilliantly funny and irreverent memoir, Norton approaches the disease with a refreshing combination of humor and tenacity, railing against victimhood and ...

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Lopsided: A Memoir

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Overview

By the age of thirty -four , Meredith Norton had been a hymnal editor, art restorer, game-show producer, and a public school teacher. She'd even lived in a tree house and shepherded goats in Minorca. But none of these unusual experiences prepared her for the most dramatic turn her life would take: the diagnosis of an aggressive form of breast cancer. In this brilliantly funny and irreverent memoir, Norton approaches the disease with a refreshing combination of humor and tenacity, railing against victimhood and self-pity and refusing to become a stereotype.

Told with a razor-sharp wit akin to David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs, Lopsided is most definitely not a typical cancer memoir; it's the bitingly funny debut of a natural-born social observer.

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Editorial Reviews

Nora Krug
In the burgeoning genre of the cancer memoir, Norton's contribution is exceptional. As she chronicles the harrowing details of her treatment, Norton is witty and bracingly unsentimental.
—The Washington Post
Library Journal

At the beginning of Norton's memoir, the most compelling thought for the reader is to avoid medical treatment in Paris (free though it may be), as the description of her health-care adventures are horrifying at best. Eventually, Norton, a thirtysomething black woman married to a Frenchman, settles in to a wonderfully enlightening and honestly (if somewhat digressively) written account of her struggle with inflammatory breast cancer. A California native, Norton comes from an educated and affluent family and had the air of entitlement to prove it. But she was truly humbled by this disease, especially by its indignities and appalling survival statistics. She moved with her husband and 11-month-old son back to her parents' sphere, where she did the requisite chemo, surgery, radiation, and more chemo. Her tone may be facetious, her language colorful, and her distractions gritty (readers will gasp at the taxidermy activities of a former neighbor), but her view of cancer (funny and irreverent) and her place in the world (she found herself "waiting for a miracle. Not a miracle to save my life, but the miracle to make something of it") will make readers stand up and cheer. Highly recommended for most libraries.
—Bette-Lee Fox

Kirkus Reviews
Blackly humorous debut memoir about surviving cancer. An African-American married to a Frenchman and living in Paris, Norton was misdiagnosed by four French doctors before learning during a visit to her parents in California that she had inflammatory breast cancer. Over the course of the next 20 months, she underwent chemotherapy and suffered the attendant baldness, hot flashes, rashes and fatigue; then she had a mastectomy, a course of radiation and more chemotherapy. Into the gut-wrenching details of these treatments, the feisty author splices a kaleidoscope of delightful anecdotes: growing up in an affluent family under the scrutiny of an intellectually demanding father; sharing a treehouse with a novice taxidermist after college; her misadventures as a public schoolteacher; the stresses of life in Paris as a young wife and mother of a toddler. She also includes a scene in Tangier, where she blocked her dentist's attempt to pull out her broken front teeth and then filed down the jagged edges herself. Norton is one plucky dame, and she displays a sharp eye for the human condition. Her challenging, awkward encounters-with doctors, nurses, even with well-meaning but clueless sympathizers-all have the ring of truth. Rejecting the model of super-survivor Lance Armstrong with his "excessive drive and talent," the author indulged in Krispy Kreme donuts, counted on friends and family to pull her through and took long naps. When she was sick, she was very sick, and she leaves no doubt about how awful her experience was. Norton calls herself a storyteller, and the tale she has crafted from a life-altering event is indeed hard to put down. Agent: David Halpern/The Robbins Office
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143115632
  • Publisher: Viking Penguin
  • Publication date: 5/26/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,201,860
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Meredith Norton is an avid rower and intermittently pursuing a graduate degree in physics and engineering.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2013

    An amazing, unvarnished memoir.  Makes you wish she were your fr

    An amazing, unvarnished memoir.  Makes you wish she were your friend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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