Pale Girl Speaks: A Year Uncovered

Pale Girl Speaks: A Year Uncovered

4.8 4
by Hillary Fogelson
     
 

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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

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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Composed as a screenplay with truncated chapters, very little exposition, and lots of punchy dialog, L.A. blogger Fogelson's memoir mines the panic and fear she felt when diagnosed with skin cancer just as she and her husband were thinking of having children. In her mid-20s, fair-complexioned, and a veteran sun worshiper, Fogelson had to make an about-face when her dermatologist revealed that a malignant melanoma required immediate surgery. She got strong support from family members including her clean-freak mother, laconic father, and TV-producer husband, Adam. And there were numerous, attentive doctors, all of whose quirky personalities are revealed via the book's dialogue. Fogelson renders her terrified, in-the-moment impressions as laugh-out-loud scenes. Trying to be admirably "proactive" as a cancer patient, she grew obsessively controlling about treatment and staying informed, calling her doctor repeatedly to find out test results, questioning whether surgery had removed the right mole, and applying vats of sunscreen. The experience was certainly bracing, but Fogelson's snappy account proves energetic and wonderfully accessible. —Publishers Weekly
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580054447
Publisher:
Avalon Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/25/2012
Pages:
328
Sales rank:
868,409
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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Pale Girl Speaks: A Year Uncovered 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A brilliant blend of humor,wit and heartbreak-Pale Girl SPEAKS can truly speak for everyone!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!