My So-Called Normal Life

My So-Called Normal Life

by Erin Zammett
     
 

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A compellingly inspirational memoir of a young woman confronting the battle of her life with hope, humor, and style.
Twenty-three years old and fresh out of college, in love with her boyfriend Nick, and having just started a great new job as assistant editor at Glamour magazine, Erin Zammett was looking forward to a future of unlimited promise until she was

Overview

A compellingly inspirational memoir of a young woman confronting the battle of her life with hope, humor, and style.
Twenty-three years old and fresh out of college, in love with her boyfriend Nick, and having just started a great new job as assistant editor at Glamour magazine, Erin Zammett was looking forward to a future of unlimited promise until she was confronted by the one experience that no person, young or old, is ever prepared to confront. A routine checkup by her doctor seemed to indicate that she was in perfect health, until she was called back just a day later to be told that a blood test revealed she had a type of cancer, Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, the only known treatment for which was a bone marrow transplant; without treatment, she had roughly five years to live.
After the initial shock wore off, and with the support of her family and friends, her own inner strength, and a recently approved experimental drug, Erin Zammett immediately began the journey that would lead her to recovery. She began to document her experiences, to provide an outlet for the thoughts that came rushing to confront the brave new world she had entered, and the result, My So-Called Normal Life is a memoir of unparalleled candor and poignancy, encompassing much more than leukemia and the battle to overcome it. Above all, it s the story of a twenty-something living her dream life amid the unlimited excitement, adventure, and potential for growth of Manhattan, confronting the challenges of life and her new job battling cancer with unbounded courage and optimism.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Zammett had a job at Glamour, a cute boyfriend and a Manhattan apartment. She also had leukemia. Her memoir about battling cancer while also helping her sister plan her wedding and editing beauty and sex stories will provide young women in her predicament an account to identify with. Zammett tells her story as if she were recounting it to a girlfriend on the phone, and dwells on mundanities like family dynamics and her diet. Her humor is the book's strength; when she finds out her sister may donate bone marrow to cure her, she writes, "I made a mental note to start being nicer to Meghan." Laughter, not surprisingly, is an antidote to despair, yet real pain and suffering are largely absent from this memoir. Zammett mentions her weight more often than her mortality: "I'd find myself more anxious about the number of pounds I weighed than the number of leukemia cells swimming through my body." In the end, readers who've never experienced the profundity of a potentially deadly disease are left with no more insight, perhaps because Zammett isn't, either: "I also felt I had failed the disease in some way, failed to have that newfound perspective on life that I thought came with every diagnosis." Agents, Ed Victor and William Clark. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Cancer chronicle from a young Glamour editor that manages to be loutish and unlovely. The unspeakable happened to Zammett, an attractive 23-year-old with a fashionable magazine job in New York City, a strong Irish family on Long Island and a loving boyfriend. After a routine medical checkup, she was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). This mysterious cancer is neither hereditary nor caused by environmental factors; Zammett's oncologist likened contracting CML to being hit by lightning. The only known cure, her doctor explained, was a bone marrow transplant that required a genetically matched donor, had a 15 percent mortality rate and rendered survivors infertile. On the other hand, there was the miraculous, newly FDA-approved experimental drug Gleevec, which killed the cancer cells and left the others intact, though it did not cure the disease. The author and her parents embarked for the Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland, where the drug trial took place. They were accompanied by a photo crew, because Zammett was writing a cancer diary for her magazine. "A Glamour staffer shares her battle to live," regrettably, suggests this book's overall level of insight and profundity. Certainly we're relieved to read that within a year Zammett's cancer was in deep remission. But despite the narrative's inherent drama and suspense, it's hard to get around the trashy colloquialisms of this University of Tennessee party girl. Each paragraph, it seems, has its own equivalent of the egregiously lazy ("I had pretty much learned to suck up the suckiness of the shots"), while vulgarisms from "fuck," to "butt crack" abound. Of the many grossly superficial statements made in heraffluent, competitive family, perhaps the most offensive is: "With cancer treatment . . . it's all about who you know." It's no surprise that when her sister is diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, they invoke the "healing power of shopping" and splurge on $300 Chanel sunglasses. Sustaining an appropriate sympathy for this character is, sadly, not easy.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781585676439
Publisher:
The Overlook Press
Publication date:
04/21/2005
Pages:
270
Product dimensions:
6.27(w) x 9.35(h) x 0.93(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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