Lopsided: How Having Breast Cancer Can Be Really Distracting

Overview

A hilarious and wickedly irreverent look at life with cancer

Lopsided is not your ordinary cancer memoir. Meredith Norton chronicles every step of her experience, starting with her bizarre symptoms while living in Paris to moving back home to California and living with her compulsive parents and their five television sets. Irreverent and incredibly funny, Norton rails against self-pity and victimhood and rants about the innumerable copies of ...

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Lopsided: A Memoir

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Overview

A hilarious and wickedly irreverent look at life with cancer

Lopsided is not your ordinary cancer memoir. Meredith Norton chronicles every step of her experience, starting with her bizarre symptoms while living in Paris to moving back home to California and living with her compulsive parents and their five television sets. Irreverent and incredibly funny, Norton rails against self-pity and victimhood and rants about the innumerable copies of Lance Armstrong's cancer survival book pressed on her by well-meaning family and friends.

Alongside the harrowing portrait of her treatments, Norton offers equally amusing memories from her offbeat life. We see her childhood time during a somewhat racist ski trip, a family reunion at a Florida alligator farm, and her life in a tree house with a neighbor, who, despite being vegan, hates mice enough to taxidermy them into miniature versions of racecar drivers, Jesus, a UPS delivery man, and Sally Jesse Raphael.

Like David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs, Norton's razor-sharp wit is at once riotous and excruciating. Lopsided is the remarkable debut of a masterful humorist.

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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: 9780670019281
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/12/2008
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.48 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Meredith Norton was born in Berkeley, California. She attended Columbia College, majoring in English. She has traveled extensively and resided for several years in Europe.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2008

    review

    Do not waste your time or money on this book. Contrary to her belief, Meredith Norton is not the only woman ever to have breast cancer. You would think having survived breast cancer, she would find a new direction in life and stop cursing about everything. I have read many books on breast cancer, but not one quite like this. The racial comments are another reason not to read this book. Get a life!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2008

    A reviewer

    I read it in one day ¿ dare I call it a good beach read. It is amazing to see someone tackle cancer with such humor. While I certainly see the need for inspirational/advice books, I really appreciate the idea of just telling a story that happens to center on cancer. I think the author should be lauded for her fresh take on a topic in need of some levity. And I hope she gets to write more books on other topics.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

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    Posted August 1, 2010

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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