My Louise: A Memoir

My Louise: A Memoir

by David Collins
     
 

A moving account of a young woman's tragic struggle with breast cancer, and her bereaved husband's fight to control his grief and provide a home for their two-year-old daughter.

At the age of 34, while seven-months pregnant with her first child, Louise Mooney Collins first discovered the breast cancer that would forever alter the lives of Louise, her husband David,

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Overview

A moving account of a young woman's tragic struggle with breast cancer, and her bereaved husband's fight to control his grief and provide a home for their two-year-old daughter.

At the age of 34, while seven-months pregnant with her first child, Louise Mooney Collins first discovered the breast cancer that would forever alter the lives of Louise, her husband David, and the daughter who would soon arrive to join their harrowing struggle—one that ultimately ended with Louise's death nearly three years later. From those experiences and his ensuing grief, and from recollections of the couple's love affair and journeys into his deeper past, David Collins has created this hauntingly beautiful memoir.

Author Biography: David Collins lives and works in the Detroit area, where he was raised. This is his first book.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
This heartbreaking memoir shows the emotional turmoil that comes when a seemingly ordinary, happy life is suddenly turned inside out. Collins's wife was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was seven months pregnant with their first child and, despite the latest medical interventions, she died when their daughter was two years old. Left a single father to a toddler daughter, following a wrenching few years struggling with his wife against cancer, Collins recounts here pieces of the time before and during the battle, while explaining his attempt to move on with his new life. He draws a beautiful and compelling portrait of Louise and of young Robin, remaining honest about the difficulties that exist in every marriage and parent-child relationship. His own trials are obvious, yet freshly described, and his frank account of the role a husband plays in the terminal illness of a wife is painful but admirable. Perhaps most notable is his evolving perspective on parenting, from the subtle and sad transition as he takes over primary care of Robin when Louise is no longer able, to the time after her death when he is both mother and father, finding he has more in common with other mothers his age than with their husbands. Collins's forceful, absorbing account will resonate with grieving readers. He writes, "The biggest problems seem to solve themselves when they're ready... I think I'll just point myself in the right direction, fold away this picture of my wife and daughter in my heart, and let the adventure continue." (Oct. 15) FYI: Ontario Review Press was founded in 1974 by Joyce Carol Oates and her husband, Raymond J. Smith.
Kirkus Reviews
Collins's debut memoir chronicles his wife's losing battle with breast cancer and his subsequent struggle to raise their two-year-old daughter alone. Three months after their wedding, Louise Collins became pregnant with a much-wanted child. Seven months into the pregnancy she found a lump in her breast: a series of biopsies was performed, a malignancy confirmed. The physicians induced labor at eight months so Louise could begin six months of chemotherapy. When daughter Robin was six months old, the young couple found out that the cancer had metastasized to Louise's lungs, necessitating a stem cell transplant. Despite these medical heroics, she died. David was thrown into a tailspin, never really getting the chance to grieve since he was instantly submerged in the grinding routine of raising a very young child alone. "I find myself managing [Robin] more than actually raising her," he confesses at one point. "I am a man, after all." While the story is quite moving, the writing is wildly uneven. The author's description of slow footsteps on the stairs as his father comes to deliver the news of Louise's death is heartfelt in its simplicity. Other scenes could have benefited from heavier editing. When he learns that the cancer has returned, Collins yells, "You motherscratchers why? Why why why why why you motherscratchers why!?" While Louise and Robin are depicted (perhaps inevitably) in a saintly fashion, Collins is less compassionate toward himself. He describes stumbling through his job, all the while relishing the peace and quiet of the office compared to the chaos of home. By the end, the author has accepted his position as a survivor with tremendous responsibilities and is ready torejoin the living. Artistically rather bumpy, but Collins's earnestness will touch most readers all the same.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780865381070
Publisher:
Ontario Review Books
Publication date:
10/28/2002
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
150
Product dimensions:
5.74(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.77(d)

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