Pale Girl Speaks: A Year Uncovered

( 5 )

Overview

Hillary Fogelson led a charmed life: as the young wife of a successful Hollywood executive, her only major concerns were her acting auditions, interior decorating, and unexpected visits from her high-maintenance parents. Then, one day, her doctor told her she had malignant melanoma—a cancer that leads to more deaths for women between the age of 25 and 30 than any other—and her life was forever changed.

Pale Girl Speaks is the darkly funny story of Fogelson’s neuroses and ...

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Overview

Hillary Fogelson led a charmed life: as the young wife of a successful Hollywood executive, her only major concerns were her acting auditions, interior decorating, and unexpected visits from her high-maintenance parents. Then, one day, her doctor told her she had malignant melanoma—a cancer that leads to more deaths for women between the age of 25 and 30 than any other—and her life was forever changed.

Pale Girl Speaks is the darkly funny story of Fogelson’s neuroses and struggles after her diagnosis with melanoma. In her witty, wisecracking narrative, Fogelson recounts how her battle with cancer brings up other issues in her life that she’s been ignoring, especially her anxieties about her relationship with her husband, her friends, and her parents. The apprehension she feels soon manifests itself in more concrete ways—panic attacks, heavy reliance on alcohol, and a compulsive need to constantly check in with her doctor—but when her father discovers that he has melanoma as well, Fogelson has to learn to lead by example and let go of her fear. A story that will appeal to anyone who has faced adversity and lived to tell jokes about it, Pale Girl Speaks is about one woman who experienced the worst possible fallout of being fair-skinned—and survived with her sense of humor intact.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A year in the life of an anxiety-ridden melanoma patient. Fogelson was diagnosed with melanoma at age 25, an astonishingly young age to have to cope with such a serious diagnosis. Her youth, combined with the severity of the diagnosis, may serve as an excuse for the attitudes and behaviors Fogelson exhibits in this account of her first year living with cancer. Unfortunately, her personality flaws overshadow her worthwhile public-health message. When she wanted to volunteer for the hospital where she received treatment, she was told she had to go through orientation like all the other volunteers. For voicing this reasonable requirement, in her mind she called the volunteer coordinator "a big fat fucking bitch." Fogelson has little sense of perspective. Her response to 9/11 was that those who were shocked by the tragedy must be "damn lucky," because unlike her, they must have never experienced anything bad. She knows that "bad things happen all the time," evidently unable to comprehend the difference in scale between a personal crisis and a massive public catastrophe. The most unsettling part of the book is the way in which she pokes fun at the overweight, unkempt patient (suffering from mental health problems) who preceded her at the therapist's office. Fogelson's vicious mockery may lead readers to wonder if she believes that only wealthy and attractive people deserve compassion. Because of the disease's genetic component, her father was examined, too, and he received the same diagnosis. The author's obvious dismay at this development lends her some sympathy, which she squanders by chronicling her bullying of her father into a vaccine trial. Fogelson is not talented enough to turn her experiences into humor; instead, she comes off as irritating and even cruel.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580054447
  • Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/25/2012
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 689,170
  • Product dimensions: 5.64 (w) x 8.08 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Hillary Fogelson is a writer, blogger, tweeter, melanoma survivor, sun protection activist and sunscreen guru. She works to spread the word about sun protection on her website and on Twitter (@palegirlspeaks). A graduate of NYU, she lives in the shadows of the Hollywood sign with her husband, two daughters, and dog Alvin.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 7

1 And So It Began 9

2 What Dreams May Come 18

3 The Sweet Smell of… Hospitals 19

4 Operation "Cancer Removal" 24

5 Let the Healing Begin 34

6 Baby Steps 36

7 Bad Day 37

8 Heads Up … Checkup 41

9 On My Own 44

10 Nice Talkin' to Ya 46

11 My Savior, My Dermatologist 47

12 Sun Protection Factor 53

13 And So It Begins 55

14 Life Goes On 57

15 Mellary 58

16 Now What? 61

17 Doc Hollywood 62

18 A First Step 67

19 The "In My Uterus" Device 70

20 The Fine Print 74

21 The Shrink 75

22 N.E.D 82

23 One Big Cookie 93

24 Worst-case Scenario 98

25 News 102

26 The Sun'll Come Out… Tomorrow 109

27 Tadpole Baby 111

28 The Way Things Work 114

29 The Waiting Game 119

30 Left to Lose 126

31 Good Game 129

32 Cake 136

33 Can't Hurt 139

34 Battle Cry 140

35 Stitches 144

36 September 11 145

37 Why I Hate Fridays 147

38 Weekend Fun 152

39 The Craziest 153

40 No News Is Bad News 155

41 St. John's Hospital (a.k.a. My Club) 159

42 My Really Big Pupils 170

43 First Day of School 178

44 No … What? 184

45 Giving the Finger 188

46 The Day of the Birth 191

47 The One-Day Itch 199

48 Competitive Waiting 200

49 A Positive Appearance … Center 204

50 Dr. Bach's Blue Thread 209

51 Making Myself Sick 212

52 Trying and Not Trying 217

53 Very Official 223

54 The Instigator 226

55 A Taste of the Big Apple 232

56 The Parents Are Coming! The Parents Are Coming! 234

57 The Trial 240

58 The Positive Appearance Center and Rose's Hair 246

59 Dinner At Eight 249

60 … Tomorrow 251

61 The Shakes 253

62 On the Rocks 256

63 The Big Day and Car Trouble 259

64 And Then There Was Light 269

65 Just the Two of Us 272

66 A Rose by Any Other Name 280

67 Nothing Left to Stand On 284

68 Pen and Ink 287

69 Positive Appearance Center: Free at Last 291

70 Being "Brave" 297

71 Enough Said 301

72 2010 315

Author's Note 319

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2013

    What great writing - I felt like I was a part of Hillary Fogelso

    What great writing - I felt like I was a part of Hillary Fogelson's friend base - like we were just sitting and talking about the dangers of melanoma and life problems and girl talk. Lots of info about melanoma presented in a non-threatening but important way and made into a life story that reads like a novel. Loved it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2012

    Fogelson writes like she's talking to her best friend, and that'

    Fogelson writes like she's talking to her best friend, and that's how she makes the reader feel. She manages to be vulnerable, witty, funny, angry, and -- above all else -- honest all at the same time. Laugh with her or cry with her, you can't help but be moved by her story and inspired to change your life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2012

    A brilliant blend of humor,wit and heartbreak-Pale Girl SPEAKS c

    A brilliant blend of humor,wit and heartbreak-Pale Girl SPEAKS can truly speak for everyone!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2012

    This book had me at the very first sentence and never let go. It

    This book had me at the very first sentence and never let go. It was funny, smart and above all, brutally honest. Now that I am a mother, I find it harder to find time to read books let alone finish one, but I found myself reading this book every free minute I had and was done in 3 days!! Even though our lives are very different, I felt I could totally relate to the author. I laughed and cried with her and I have to say, I learned a ton about protecting my kids and myself from harmful sun exposure. I feel forever changed by this book...all for the better!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2014

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